Mercury Public Affairs has picked up the American Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee to help further its mission to strengthen Ethiopian ties with the US.

Ethiopia’s US ambassador Fitsum Arega announced the formation of AEPAC in April and thanked it for undertaking various initiatives to address socio-economic challenges in the homeland.

The US slapped sanctions on Ethiopia in May and cut aid due to atrocities committed in the Tigray region of the country.

Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops to Tigray last November in an effort to “rehabilitate” it. That invasion displaced more than 1.7M people and pushed 350K Tigrayans into famine.

Abiy declared a unilateral ceasefire on June 28 and withdrew troops from Tigray.

US State Dept spokesperson Ned Price said the ceasefire “could be a positive step if it results in changes on the ground to end the conflict, stop the atrocities, and allow unhindered humanitarian assistance."

Ethiopia is the largest recipient of American aid in sub-Saharan Africa, receiving about $1B per year.

Former US Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and Congressman Joe Garcia (D-FL) are part of Mercury’s lobbying team for AEPAC.

Omnicom owns Mercury.