Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs of US Department of State has paid a visit to three African countries for the first time since President Donald Trump come to power last year.
Ambassador Donald Y. Yamamoto, former US ambassador to Ethiopia and Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs at the Gorge W Bush administration and the current acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs met with top officials, opposition leaders and activists here in Addis Ababa.
His visit is also for the first time after the assignment of Abiy Ahmed (PhD) by the parliament that is fully controlled by the ruling party and its regional allies as a prime minister.
Since the second state of emergency imposed in mid-February, the US government opposed the decree claiming more freedom and democratic steps are solutions for the political instability that occurred in the country.
His visit is also followed by the Department of State 2017 Human Rights Report for Ethiopia that was released a week ago and that highly slammed the government on human right condition.
Regional issues have been raised as one of the discussion points with Workneh Gebeyehu (PhD), Minister of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), according to the Meles Alem, spokesperson of MoFA.
“Yamamoto expressed his government’s intention to support the IGAD effort to expand peace in South Sudan backing the peace talks that is taken by regional governments to the country,” Meles said.
Somalia was also the issue that was discussed. It is said that the talks focused on enhancing of institutional development in the country and integration of the central government of Somalia with its regional states.
He said that the US government via his representative has commended the PM invitation to resolve the problem with Eritrea.
Business issues were also mentioned. In the near future a business delegation lead by Secretary of Trade is expected to visit Ethiopia, according to the spokesperson.
“The issue of human right and state of emergency was not mentioned on the discussion,” he added. While Workneh told the US diplomat that the government will undertake reform on the political arena. “The government is preparing to engage with the Ethiopian Diaspora whatever and whoever,” Workneh told Yamamoto.
Recently, on his public speech at Hawassa, Abiy said that Ethiopians who are concerned about Ethiopia should come to Addis Ababa.
Yamamoto was also met PM Abiy. On his facebook page Abiy said that he met Yamamoto at his office and discussed on bilateral and regional issues. “He reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to further strengthen ties between Ethiopia and United States of America and continue cooperation on issues of mutual importance including security, stability and development,” PM Abiy said.
For journalists Yamamoto hinted that he discussed with Abiy about Eritrea, but did not give details.
In its twitter page the US Embassy in Addis stated that the diplomat met with the PM and added that they had warm and productive discussions on ways the U.S. can support the new PM and the aspirations of all Ethiopians for a bright future.
On another twit the Embassy said that in Amb. Yamamoto met with several leading independent voices to hear their views. Yamamoto, who is familiar with Ethiopian politics since the 2005 contested election meet with Merera Gudina (PhD), one of the top opposition leaders, Bekele Gerba, Andualem Arage and Eskinder Nega.
Yamamoto has also visited Asmara and Djibouti before he arrived on his last leg trip to Ethiopia.