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

Press Availability
Wendy R. Sherman
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Following the Meeting with Prime Minister Hailemariam
Addis Ababa
April 17, 2015
4:00 pm local time

Under Secretary Sherman:  I had an excellent meeting with the Prime Minister. We discussed a whole range of issues, including the development of Ethiopia – its economic development, its security development and the needs as its continuing to develop its democracy.

We also spent a lot of time talking about regional and foreign policy issues. The Prime Minister has been a leader with IGAD and trying to solve the concerns in South Sudan, and so we discussed the strategy going forward to support that country to get back on its feet and to have a cohesive government, an inclusive government that really relates to the people of South Sudan and their hopes and their aspirations.

We discussed Yemen, which is much on the mind of the entire world and the need to get to a negotiating table and to create an inclusive government based on President Hadi and the legitimate government of Yemen. But time is of the essence there because it is a very dangerous and concerning situation, of great concern for Saudi Arabia, for the countries of the GCC. But for everyone in the region, we need to make sure that the terrorist threat of Al-Qaeda, Daish and other terrorists do not overtake all of the legitimate governments and all of the great work that is being done to ensure that people can lead secure and prosperous lives.

I’ve had an excellent visit here in Ethiopia. I always enjoy coming here. I have particularly loved as I’ve gone into every building seeing the fantastic artwork that’s done here in Ethiopia and only wish I could spend more time. It’s also been perfect weather, so I’ve been very blessed and thank you very much.

Question:  You have been at the G7 meeting – you came here suddenly…

Under Secretary Sherman:  Did I come here suddenly?  No, this was planned. I was in Germany for the Group of 7 meeting, which is the major industrial, developed nations, where we discussed a whole range of issues. But this trip to Ethiopia was planned for quite some time.  I had been here and we wanted to discuss issues of concern. We wanted to make sure that I had this discussion before your election because we understand that the government and the people of Ethiopia are preoccupied with the election.  We hope Ethiopia comes out and votes.

It is very important. This is a young democracy.  It has a ways to go yet to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard.  That everyone with an opinion has a place to discuss their views and that over time, Ethiopia will become the robust and full democracy that it needs to be and wants to be.