WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Cambodia for a U.S.-ASEAN minister’s meeting next week during which he will address the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, Myanmar and the war in Ukraine, the State Department said on Friday.
After the Aug. 3-5 meetings in Phnom Penh, Blinken will travel to Manila and meet with President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos and foreign secretary Enrique Manalo to discuss efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Philippine alliance, the department said in a statement.
South Africa will be the top U.S. diplomat’s next stop, on Aug. 7-9, followed by visits to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. ”The Secretary will focus on the role the government of Rwanda can play in reducing tensions and ongoing violence in eastern DRC,” the statement said.
In Rwanda, he will also raise the “wrongful detention” of U.S. permanent resident Paul Rusesabagina, the department said.
Rusesabagina, 67, was sentenced in September 2021 to 25 years in prison over eight terrorism charges tied to an organization opposed to Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s rule. He has denied all the charges and refused to take part in the trial that he and his supporters have called a political sham.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Nick Zieminski)