6 July 2018

Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed to Make His First Official United States Visit

Photo: Addis Fortune
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Abiy Ahmed is expected to meet senior U.S. government officials and representatives of the large Ethiopian diaspora community in the U.S.

New Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will conduct a two-day state visit to the U.S. from July 28-29, an Ethiopian official said on Wednesday.

Speaking to foreign and local media, Ambassador Birtukan Ayano, Deputy Minister of Ethiopia Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), said Abiy is expected to meet senior U.S. government officials and representatives of the large Ethiopian diaspora community in the U.S.

She further said Ahmed's trip to the U.S. will be conducted under the motto "Break the wall, Build Bridges" to foster dialogue and consensus between the Ethiopian government and the Ethiopian community in the U.S.

Substantial sections of the Ethiopian Community in the U.S estimated to be in excess of more than half a million have been vocal critics of the Ethiopian government for its handling of "human rights and for its democratic deficit."

Ahmed is also expected to hold discussions with U.S. government officials who have been key actors behind the scenes in efforts to reconcile Ethiopia with bitter rival Eritrea.

The PM is also expected to hold discussion with U.S. officials regarding their bilateral anti-terrorism partnership.

The U.S and Ethiopia share strong partnership in the anti-terrorism fight, with the two countries currently cooperating in the fight against al-Shabab, an jihadist group operating mainly in neighboring Somalia.

Since coming to power in April, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has moved fast to institute political reforms including freeing thousands of prisoners, among whom are several prominent opposition figures, and has promised to amend controversial laws.

The political reforms come after almost three years of unrest in Ethiopia's two most populous regional states Oromia and Amhara which together make up more than 60 percent of the country's estimated 100 million population.

Bloody protests over allegations of political and economic marginalization since late 2015, has cast doubts about the stability of one of Africa's star economies.

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