US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday while visiting Djamena, Chad that Washington was considering lifting the travel ban on Chad. A key ally in the fight against Islamist militant group in the region.
Having flown into Chadian capital on the last day of his African tour, with stops in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Nigeria-all of which are frontline partners in the fight against off-shoots of Islamic State and al Qaeda.
The trip was the US top diplomat’s first visit to the continent where many are still dealing with the fallout of President Trump’s reported brush off of states there as ”shithole”countries in January. Comment the US leader later denied making.
Acknowledging the important steps taken by Chad to strengthen its security and passports, Tillerson speaking to reporters said ”These steps I think are going to allow us to begin to normalize the travel relationship with Chad”.
Tillerson, had previously met with President Idriss Deby while serving as ExxonMobil’s CEO, was concerned about the presence of Islamic State in the Sahel, called Chad an ”important ally”.
Foreign Minister Cherif Mahamat Zene said Chad’s President Deby had ”expressed his incomprehension” about the ban during a meeting with Rex Tillerson on Monday.
The entourage for the chief diplomat said his African tour has been cut short due to urgent work in Washington. ”Due to demands in the Secretary’s schedule, he is returning to the US one day early after concluding official meetings in Chad and Nigeria,” says Ste Goldstein, Under Secretary of State to reporters.
BaretaNews Foreign Correspondent/Analyst