Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Desalegn of Ethiopia Before Bilateral Meeting

8 mins read

United Nations Building
New York City, New York
9:57 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I want to extend a warm welcome to Prime Minister Desalegn and his delegation. When I spoke previously at the Africa Summit about some of the bright spots and progress that we’re seeing in Africa, I think there’s no better example than what has been happening in Ethiopia — one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
We have seen enormous progress in a country that once had great difficulty feeding itself. It’s now not only leading the pack in terms of agricultural production in the region, but will soon be an exporter potentially not just of agriculture, but also power because of the development that’s been taking place there.
We’re strong trading partners. And most recently, Boeing has done a deal with Ethiopia, which will result in jobs here in the United States. And in discussions with Ban Ki-moon yesterday, we discussed how critical it is for us to improve our effectiveness when it comes to peacekeeping and conflict resolution. And it turns out that Ethiopia may be one of the best in the world — one of the largest contributors of peacekeeping; one of the most effective fighting forces when it comes to being placed in some very difficult situations and helping to resolve conflicts.
So Ethiopia has been not only a leader economically in the continent, but also when it comes to security and trying to resolve some of the longstanding conflicts there. We are very appreciative of those efforts, and we look forward to partnering with them. This will give us an opportunity to talk about how we can enhance our strategic dialogue around a whole range of issues, from health, the economy, agriculture, but also some hotspot areas like South Sudan, where Ethiopia has been working very hard trying to bring the parties together, but recognizes that this is a challenge that we’re all going to have to work together on as part of an international community.
So I want to extend my thanks to the Prime Minister for his good work. And we look forward to not only an excellent discussion, but a very productive relationship going forward.

Mr. Prime Minister.
PRIME MINISTER DESALEGN: Thank you very much, Mr. President. First of all, I would like to thank you very much for receiving us during this very busy time. We value very much the relationship between the United States and Ethiopia. And as you mentioned, my country is moving, transforming the economy of the nation. But needless to say that the support of the United States in our endeavor to move forward has been remarkable.
I think the most important thing is to have the human capability to develop ourselves. And the United States has supported us in the various programs that helped us move forward in having healthy human beings that can produce. And as you mentioned, agriculture is the main source of our economic growth, and that has been the case because we do have our farmers which are devoid of malaria, which is the main debilitating disease while producing. So I think that has helped us a lot.
And we value also the support the United States has offered to us in terms of engaging the private sector, especially your initiative of the Power Africa program, which is taking shape. I think it’s remarkable and a modern kind of approach. And in that sense, we are obliged to thank you very much for this program and to deepen this Power Africa initiative.
Beyond that, you know that through your initiative and the leaders of the United States, we have the Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which is the most important program, where the private-public partnership is the initiative. We have a number of U.S. investors now engaged in agricultural production, helping the smallholder farmers, which is the basis for our agricultural growth that’s taking place now in Ethiopia.
Besides, peace and security is very essential for any kind of development to take place. In that sense, our cooperation in peace and security and pacifying the region, the continent, as well as our Horn of Africa — I think this has helped us a lot to bring peace and tranquility in the region. And we’ve feel that we have strong cooperation. We have to deepen it. We have to extend now our efforts to pacify the region and the continent. Of course, also, we have to cooperate globally, not only in Africa, and that relationship has to continue.
So, Mr. President, thank you very much for receiving us. We value this relationship, which is excellent, and we want to deepen it and continue.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Two last points I want to make. Obviously we’ve been talking a lot about terrorism and the focus has been on ISIL, but in Somalia, we’ve seen al-Shabaab, an affiliate of al Qaeda, wreak havoc throughout that country. That’s an area where the cooperation and leadership on the part of Ethiopia is making a difference as we speak. And we want to thank them for that.
So our counterterrorism cooperation and the partnerships that we have formed with countries like Ethiopia are going to be critical to our overall efforts to defeat terrorism.
And also, the Prime Minister and the government is going to be organizing elections in Ethiopia this year. I know something about that. We’ve got some midterms coming up. And so we’ll have an opportunity to talk about civil society and governance and how we can make sure that Ethiopia’s progress and example can extend to civil society as well, and making sure that throughout the continent of Africa we continue to widen and broaden our efforts at democracy, all of which isn’t just good for politics but ends up being good for economics as well — as we discussed at the Africa Summit.
So, thank you very much, everybody.
10:04 A.M. EDT


  1. OBAMA and his adminstration are EXTREMELY IGNORANT when it comes to what is going on specifically in Africa and generally throughout the globe. However, their is some DIRTY, CORRUPT, EVIL, IMMORAL AND SELFISH POLITICS going on as well.

  2. To me what I hear and see is wickedness in high place. now who is kidding who? Yes Obama is kidding the puppet Hailemariam. I am surprised and yet I am not surprised. All that rhetoric, “we stand with the oppressed, with stand with you the people of Africa.”was nothing ‘but close your eyes and I want to fool you’. the poor and the oppressed remain poor and more oppressed. Not one word about openness, and the release of political prisoners was mentioned by the freedom lover and the democrat Obama!
    Where is Obama’s contribution the fight for democracy? It is like the thin air in the troposphere!
    Does this man one bit care for the thousands that perished and the man who still are languishing in these notorious prisons of Ethiopia? Not one bit, not one iota!!
    The man in the white house has shown his contempt for the oppressed and for prisoners of conscious by simply turning his back on their plight!
    As far as I am concerned his predecessor George Bush jr. has done more for Africa than Obama who claims his root in Africa. Now it is of course to little too late.
    His objective is to fight Alqida, Taliban, ISIS, Alshabab and so forth and any one who proves loyal in this fight, never mind about their human right record, money will continue flowing to their coffer.
    Why do the Weyanes (these curses of the nation) co mitt all those atrocities for the past Twenty Three years? Simply because they have the green light from their masters not condemn them, and their desire to turn blind eyes on the plight of the people.
    well, again I say I am surprised, and yet not surprised, about Obama and his administration. They have not only abandon the poor and oppressed multitudes of Ethiopians, but also all freedom loving people around the globe.
    Help will come from the people from else where, and Our God will see to that, but as for Obama and his administration the great opportunity to prove to be the friend of the oppressed Ethiopians is lost forever.
    This saying fits what I am trying to convey; I say to you Mr. Obama, ” you will not have a second chance to make the first impression.”
    The Weyanes (the curse of the nation) must go and will go whether Mr. Obama and his administration stands with the oppressed or not. Ethiopia and the Weyanes can not coexist, there has been a continuous conflict for the past 23 years and this will continue on until the curse is removed and the land is cleansed of these filth!!
    The Struggle and the fight will continue in every way, no one will just sit down and die (be killed by the Weyanes) they die while fighting!
    Victory and truth is on the side of the oppressed!
    Ethiopia will come out of this darkness and will see the day of light!!!

  3. I think I see something very beneficial coming out of such a meeting and conversation between the leaders of Ethiopia and USA. We actually don’t know what President Obama and his officials discreetly discussed with PM Haile Mariam regarding the situation of the imprisoned bloggers and other activists in particular and the human rights record of the regime back home in general. I am sure that was brought up. This video is made for public consumption which should always be. But there is more I expect from such a meeting and I hope it is a done deal. We can say hurrah when we see the Chinese opening up an industrial park to make shoes; we can scream hurrah again when the Indians convert a forgotten fallow land into a lush rice paddy. But these two countries are only capable of doing it in a sliver by sliver. The only country which can go in there and turn that joint upside down in less a decade industrially is the Good ole USA and its Western allies. Industrialization in a gang buster is the only way peace and stability will remain to be the norm for that country and the whole Horn of Africa. I am a strong believer in the fact that industrialization is a free society incubator, women liberator, despot buster and human transformer. Violence has been given leeway and allowed to pitch one group of people against another, whether racially or politically motivated, wherein millions have already needlessly perished. No more violence!!! You all hear me!!! No more violence!!!!!

  4. Shame on Obama. It is disgrace. Obama would not know or understand the disasterous political situation in Addis. Is mr Obama misinformed or he lies in support for the bloody murderers.
    Mr Obama lied rgarding the economic growth in Ethiopia. Ethiopia a land locked and land less nation, more than hundred thousand suffering in jails, journalist and intelectuals deported or killed, then why Obama the president lies. It is terrible.
    Mr Obama shame on you and the Americans.
    Ethiopia prevails::

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