Press Availability by Wendy R. Sherman, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Following the Meeting with Foreign Minister Tedros

Press Availability
Wendy R. Sherman
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Following the Meeting with Foreign Minister Tedros
Addis Ababa
April 16, 2015
11:30 am local time

Under Secretary Sherman: I am really thrilled to be here in Addis today. I came from the G7 meeting in Lubeck, Germany, and I was very glad to have a very wide range of discussions with the Minister, not only about the tremendous success here in Ethiopia – all of the development goals that have been met. Ethiopia is the fastest growing economy – one of the fastest growing economies – on the African continent.

Ethiopia is a democracy that is moving forward in an election that we expect to be free, fair, credible and open and inclusive. In ways that Ethiopia has moved forward in strengthening its democracy. Every time there is an election, it gets better and better.

We also discussed all of the threats and concerns in the region, which was also a major topic of conversation at the G7 [Group of 7] meeting as well. So whether that is strengthening Somalia, dealing with threats in Ethiopia, everything from al-Shabaab to Boko Haram, to of course the Daish and al-Qaeda. And indeed, we discussed the reality that here from Ethiopia’s perspective as well as concern about all of those terrorist groups, that Ethiopia considers Ginbot 7 a terrorist group as well.

The United States believes that no group, including Ginbot 7, should attempt to overthrow or speak of overthrowing, a democratically-elected government and we look forward to continuing our work with the Ethiopian government to address these concerns in very serious and appropriate ways.

The world is facing a lot these days. And Ethiopia is a very strong and growing country, and we want to make sure that the stability, the peace, the security and the growing prosperity continue.

We look forward to our very strong partnership, building all the platforms that we need, to meet these threats, meet these concerns with all of the seriousness that they deserve. So, I am very grateful for the very good discussion we had today and we will continue tomorrow as well.

Question: Inaudible

Under Secretary Sherman: We think elections are very important.  In fact, I was reminding the Minister, the last time I was in Addis was on the United States’ Election Day for President Obama’s re-election. And, it was the first time in my life I had been outside of my country on Election Day. I had voted absentee, so I voted because voting is important so I urge all Ethiopians to vote on your election day!

But I was also glad to be here because in many ways Ethiopia is a young democracy.  So, every election, just as in our country, should be better and better; more open, allowing for freedom of access; making sure that every election is fair, free, credible; that opposition groups have the space to participate; that everybody’s vote counts. And in our country, we try to make every election better than the last one in being inclusive, making sure everybody’s rights are respected.  And, we know that Ethiopia is willing to do that as well.