Tillerson praises AU for boosting security

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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson holds a news conference with African Union (AU) Commission Chairman Moussa Faki, of Chad, after their meeting at African Union headquarters, Thursday, March 8, 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool via AP)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on the first leg of his March 6–13 trip to Africa, hailed the African Union as “a force for good” in the region.

The U.S. is grateful for the African Union’s role “in seeking solutions to help this continent move towards greater stability,” the secretary said in a March 8 meeting with African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Faki said Tillerson’s visit “is taking place at a time when Africa is firmly embarked on the path to integration and reform.”

America’s top diplomat praised the organization for naming 2018 as the year for winning the fight against corruption. “From high-level secret deals to petty bribes on the street,” Tillerson said, “corruption really does steal precious resources from job creators and entrepreneurs.”

The United States has supported the African Union — a group of heads of state from 55 African nations — since its beginning in 2002. The U.S. is the first non-African country with a mission to the union. Conflict prevention, mitigation and peace operations have been among the focuses of U.S.–African Union relations.

In his first trip to Africa as secretary of state, Tillerson visited five countries — Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria — to meet with leaders to discuss ongoing efforts to combat terrorism and boost economic ties.

His Visit to Kenya coincided with the re-union of the country symbolized by the long time political rivals H.E Uhuru Kenyatta and Hon. Raila Odinga shaking hands and promising to end their differences and start over a new chapter of developing and engaging Kenyans despite their political affiliations. The secretary of state acknowledged the move and congratulated them.