ETHIOPIAN Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received a call from US President Donald Trump on Friday, his office confirmed.
The exchange between the two centred on events arising from the deadly plane crash of March 10. Trump spoke about the strength of the Ethiopian national carrier and stressed his support for ongoing reforms.
The two leaders also committed to deepening relations between their respective countries, the PM’s office added.
Abiy is the latest African leader to have received a call from the US leader. Others are Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari and then president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma.
Full content of message from PM’s office
‘PM Abiy Ahmed and Donald Trump in a phone call today shared their condolences to the people of both countries for the loss of lives in the fatal Flight 302.
President Trump hailed @flyethiopian (Ethiopian Airlines) as a strong institution & affirmed provision of technical support where needed.
Donald Trump also expressed support for the holistic reforms that have been taking place in Ethiopia over the past months. The two leaders concluded their call with a commitment to strengthen the two country’s long standing diplomatic relationship.’
The highest US official Abiy has met is the Vice-President Mike Pence. Abiy on a tour of the US last year, he met with Pence at the White House.
At the time, Pence also assured of continued support of Washington for reforms that the PM was undertaking back home.
Washington is seen as a key ally of Ethiopia in different aspects of bilateral co-operation, key among which is security co-operation in the fight against terrorism.
The last top US official to have visited was then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who visited Addis at a time when tensions were high. He was fired by Trump by the time he completed his planned visit which took him to Kenya and Nigeria.