USA State Secretary Blinken a spectator at AFCON
United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, embarked on a diplomatic tour of Africa, commencing his journey in Cape Verde on Monday. The tour encompasses visits to four African nations, including Cape Verde, Nigeria, Angola, and Ivory Coast. While in Ivory Coast, Blinken seized the opportunity to witness an intense AFCON match between Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast, where the hosts faced an unexpected defeat.
The AFCON match served as a backdrop to Blinken’s engagement with the African nations, strategically timed amid growing concerns about security in the Sahel region and uncertainties surrounding the United States’ key base in Niger.
Addressing the press during his visit to Cape Verde, Secretary Blinken emphasized the Biden administration’s commitment to fostering closer collaboration with African governments, particularly in matters pertaining to prosperity. He stated, “We are all in when it comes to Africa; our futures are linked, our prosperity is intertwined, and African voices play an increasingly pivotal role in shaping the global discourse.”
Cape Verde’s Prime Minister, Jose Ulisses Correia e Silva, added a unique voice to the dialogue by condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and expressing concern over the coups in the Sahel region. The collective condemnation of these geopolitical events showcased a united front against destabilizing forces in the region.
From Cape Verde, Secretary Blinken proceeded to Ivory Coast, where he not only engaged in diplomatic discussions but also savored the vibrant atmosphere of the AFCON tournament. Reflecting on his experience, Blinken shared, “I joined the Ivorian Foreign Minister for today’s African Cup of Nations against Equatorial Guinea. As a lifelong soccer fan, it was exhilarating to feel the energy of all the fans in the arena.”
The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, trade relations, and other pertinent global issues are set to feature prominently in Blinken’s discussions with African leaders. However, it remains to be seen whether the Israel-Palestinian conflict will be a focal point in these dialogues.
In essence, Secretary Blinken’s tour underscores the United States’ commitment to strengthening ties with African nations, addressing regional security concerns, and engaging in dialogue on a spectrum of global issues that impact both the continent and the broader international community.