Meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
Statement by Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Dec. 05 2007
Today, I met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and representatives of the Ethiopian government to discuss issues of bilateral importance to both of our nations, with a focus on Ethiopia’s relations with Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea. Other areas of discussion included regional security and fighting terrorism; democracy and human rights; economic development and food security; and public health concerns such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
During today’s meeting, we emphasized the need for a comprehensive ceasefire agreement to be forged between Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and non-extremist opposition groups, which would help prevent further violence and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Mogadishu. We also discussed the need for the TFG to urgently resume the transitional political process outlined by the Transitional Federal Charter leading towards national elections in 2009.
On Sudan, I encouraged Prime Minister Meles to send Ethiopian troops pledged to the United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as soon as possible, and to work with Khartoum to allow UNAMID deployments, including non-African troops, to move forward unhindered.
I also urged the Prime Minister to avoid any acts that might heighten friction between Eritrea and Ethiopia and to take concrete steps to lessen tensions on the border. There must not be a resumption of hostilities initiated by either side. We also discussed the importance of strengthening democratic institutions in Ethiopia and the issue of food security, with a specific focus on ensuring unrestricted commercial food delivery throughout the country, including the Ogaden.