Obama begins talks with Ethiopia

US President Barack Obama has begun talks with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on the second leg of his African tour.

They are expected to centre on human rights and regional security issues, as well as the civil war in South Sudan.
Mr Obama is the first serving US leader to visit Ethiopia and will be the first to address the 54-member African Union in Addis Ababa on Tuesday.
Mr Obama flew to Ethiopia after a two-day visit to Kenya.
There, he had discussed trade and security but also called for greater human rights and warned of the dangers of corruption.
The US president was greeted at Addis Ababa’s international airport on Sunday by Mr Hailemariam.
Compared to the Kenyan leg of his tour, President Obama’s arrival in Ethiopia signals a more sombre mood.
Security ties
Ethiopia is a close ally of the US in fighting militant Islamists. Thousands of Ethiopian troops are in Somalia, where the capital Mogadishu was the scene of a major bomb blast on Sunday.
But despite security ties, Mr Obama is expected to raise concerns about what critics say is the erosion of democratic freedoms in Ethiopia.
Recent elections in which the ruling party secured all of the parliamentary seats, and a further clampdown on the media and the jailing of bloggers, are among the issues on which the US president is expected to express alarm.

In talks on South Sudan with leaders from Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda as well as the Sudanese foreign minister, he is expected to call for tougher sanctions and a possible arms embargo if the warring factions do not agree on a peace deal.
However, a US official travelling with Mr Obama said they were not expected to lead to a breakthrough.
“This is an opportunity to reinforce the effort that’s on the table and to strategise… on next steps in the event that it doesn’t succeed,” the official told reporters.

Crowds cheered Mr Obama’s motorcade as it left the airport in Addis Abab.
Credit: BBC

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