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Kerry in Ethiopia on regional peace mission

May 01
12:49 2014
Kerry and Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom last year

Kerry and Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom last year

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as a first stop of his three-country Africa visit to discuss various issues bordering on peace and security.

Kerry, who arrived in Addis Ababa on Wednesday night, responded to a few issues raised by newsmen via email.

He said: “In Ethiopia, I will co-convene the Fourth Session of the U.S.-AU High-Level Dialogue.

“I will meet with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom to discuss peace, democracy and the importance of our lasting bilateral relationship.

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“In Kinshasa, I will meet with President Joseph Kabila and discuss the government’s progress in ending conflict and supporting those Congolese suffering from the violence.

“We will also discuss the DRC’s continued democratisation and its long-term stability.

“And in Luanda, I will engage with President José Eduardo dos Santos on Angola’s leadership in the region and encourage the president’s continued personal engagement in the Great Lakes peace process.

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“I will also discuss bilateral policy and trade issues with Foreign Minister Chikoti.”

Kerry described the progress being made across the African continent these days as extraordinary, adding: “Africa is home to eight of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world.

“There are more democratic governments than ever before. Best of all, each day more Africans are seeing these many benefits reflected in their daily lives.

“I am visiting the continent to celebrate that progress and help advance it further because there is always more to do.

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“I am here to encourage further democratic development, promote human rights, advancing peace and security and engage with civil society groups and young people.

“I have also come to promote trade, and celebrate PEPFAR and all it’s done to combat the scourge of HIV/AIDS across the continent.”

He expressed concern over the continued detention of some nine journalists who were serving various jail terms of between five to 18 years.

“This is an issue I feel very passionately about. A free and unfettered press is fundamental to any functioning democracy.

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“First, I will urge the government of Ethiopia to fully adhere to its constitutional guarantees afforded to all its citizens.

“When I am in Addis Ababa, I also plan to reiterate my longstanding concern about the abridgement of the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.”

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Kerry is expected to meet with the AUC Deputy Chairperson, Eratus Mwencha, to discuss bilateral issues of collaboration and peace on the continent.

The issues of South Sudan crises and the Central African Republic (CAR) as well as that of Democratic Republic of Congo expected to take centre stage.

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