Home | News    Sunday 26 August 2012

Obama urges Ethiopia’s new leader to promote human rights, security


By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

August 25, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) - US president, Barack Obama, has spoken with Ethiopia’s acting prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, who has become nation’s new leader following the death of his predecessor on 21 August.

US president Barack Obama (Getty)

According to a statement by the US embassy in Addis Ababa, Obama has urged the new Ethiopian leader to promote regional security, democracy and human rights.

During their phone conversation on Thursday, Obama pledged the US’s continued commitment to partnership with Ethiopia, mainly on security areas.

“We encourage the Government of Ethiopia to enhance its support for development, democracy, regional stability and security, human rights, and prosperity for its people”.

Obama lauded Zenawi’s “life long” contributions to bringing development to Ethiopia and also admired his role for peace and security in Africa, mainly in Somalia and his responses to the crisis in Darfur, where Ethiopia deployed thousands of peace keeping forces.

Obama also mentioned the late Ethiopian premier’s contributions to the African Union, and his voice for Africa on the world stage.

Zenawi was the US’s key security partner in the horn Africa region, mainly in the war on terror and particularly in the fight against Al-Qaida linked al-Shabab radical group in war-torn Somalia.

After more than two months of illness, Zenawi died last Monday, leaving behind a mixed legacy. Under his rule millions of Ethiopians were lifted out of poverty and the nation has seen double-digit economic growth for nearly a decade.

However, he has been criticised of doing little to enhance democracy and human rights while leading the country for 21 years, after toppling the former dictatorial Derg Regime.

Following Zenaw’s death, there are fears that nation may face a power vacuum and instability.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune, many Ethiopian’s asked whether the achieved developments and consecutive economic growth would be sustained after Zenawi.

Others also raised questions about the political landscape and the nation’s relationship with other countries.

The unresolved Ethiopia-Eritrea border dispute is another major concern for Ethiopians. The two countries fought a 1998-2000 war which killed 70,000 people.

Communication Minister, Bereket Simon, downplayed the concerns saying the current leadership is united and will remain as strong as ever despite Zenawi’s absence.


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  • 26 August 2012 06:56, by Madina Tonj

    I think the new Ethiopian leader need to show good direction on democracy system and respect citizens rights not to arrest many people as we have seen in 20,years. any way South Sudan is not fully a democracy system however, people can express freely their thoughts without fear being arrest by government which is good unlikely to Khartoum regime.

    • 27 August 2012 00:55, by henok

      You must be a super moron, sir. If not you are an enemt to our north - Shaebya (Isayas Afewerki the lunatic).

  • 26 August 2012 09:40, by Jalaby

    Dear President Obama,
    Did you find a chance to go through the latest UNMISS report about SPLA where UNMISS accused SPLA of committing murder, torture and rape in the south!
    Before urging new Ethiopian leader to promote human rights you need to intervene in south Sudan and free people from being oppressed by SPLA gangsters! please do it quickly Mr. president!

    • 26 August 2012 09:48, by Jalaby

      I think SPLA is good when oppressing and terrorizing his own people in the south but really bad when facing SAF, Heglig is a good example, SPLA ran away quickly when SAF fired back and they left their dead bodies for scavengers and vultures! what type of army is that?!

      • 26 August 2012 10:15, by mohamed mahgoub

        I don’t think its wise to coment here esp u NCP criminals what u say about SK, BN & Darfur & thausands of political prisoner in Sudan ,first of all ICC warrant for more than half of ur govnt officials for crimes against humanity

        • 26 August 2012 18:20, by panchol

          The late Ethiopian Prime Minister would have not secceded if the Deputy prime Minister were not there.

      • 27 August 2012 00:25, by Tiger

        you will keep crying to president obama,but obama will never listen to you or even pay attention to some terrorist like you,do you even have a freedom of speech in the North,you think that you people are keeping up islamic trational,but you stole our oil and also stoning your adulters women every single month.shame!

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