Clinton Cuts Short Africa Visit Following Eritrea Ash Cloud Threat.

14 Jun

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has cut short her three-nation African tour following the ash cloud threat from an Eritrean volcano, reports said on Monday.

Clinton who arrived in Ethiopia on Monday to address the African Union (AU) gathering as well as for talks with the country’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, returned home almost 24 hours ahead of schedule. Despite her revised schedule, Clinton found time to address the AU meeting and hold talks with Zenawi.

Besides, Clinton met advisers to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir as well as Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir. However, she canceled a media briefing scheduled for Monday evening.

Unnamed US officials have been quoted as saying in reports that the decision to cut short the trip was taken as ash from the Dubbi volcano was likely to force the closure of Addis Ababa’s main airport. Hence the departure was advanced to prevent the US delegation from getting stranded.

The volcano in the Southern Red Sea Region started erupting Sunday throwing up ash to a height of 13 kilometers into the air. This is Dubbi’s first eruption in at least 150 years after the last recorded one in 1861. Volcanic activity began after several earthquakes rattled the region.

According to Israel Meteorological Survey, the volcanic ash is expected to reach southern Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

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