A delegate led by the Ethiopian Minister of Defense Lemma Megersa visited the U.S defense officials in Washington, D.C this week. The minister co-chaired the 9th annual U.S-Ethiopia Bilateral Defence Committee along with Pete Marocco, the U.S Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs on December, 4.
According to the release of the U.S Department of Defense, the two countries discussed the ways they could strengthen their security partnership. They also talked about the issues of peacekeeping, regional security, intelligence, and military relations.
Moreover, the Ethiopian delegation met with James Anderson Performing the Duties of Deputy Under Secretary of the U.S Defense. He appreciated the Ethiopian role of peacekeeping in the East African region. Anderson also congratulated Lemma Megersa for security sector reforms in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia and the US have decades of Defense partnership. It all started in 1953 when Ethiopia signed a lease agreement that allows the U.S to administer Kagnew communication station located in Asmara. In 1954 the countries signed the Mutual Defence Assistance Agreement in which the U.S pledged to provide $5 Million to equip divisions of the Ethiopian army.
Also, several military agreements were signed between Ethiopia and the US during the era of Emperor Haile Selassie. It continued until Washington and Addis Ababa got into a tension, which finally led to the termination of military relations between the two nations during the Derg regime.
After the downfall of the Derg regime, the two nations had more diplomatic relations than the military. In the recent visit of the Ethiopian minister of defense in the US, the two countries reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen their bilateral relationships.
Since the arrival of Abiy Ahmed to power, Washington’s involvement has relatively increased, especially in the security sector. As the defense officials of both nations emphasized during their meeting, in the past 18 months, security cooperation between the two countries has increased significantly.