East Africa

In a rare meeting, Ethiopia’s new PM dines with opposition leaders,promises to strengthen democracy

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Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed hosted a dinner reception last night for opposition leaders and promised to ‘implement democracy in a manner that satisfies all’.

It was a rare, direct meeting between the government and the groups.

He told them that they should offer alternative solutions for solving Ethiopia’s worst political crisis in recent history.

Mr Abiy said was ready to listen to alternative voices in a country where the government has often being accused of clamping down on the opposition and stifling media freedom.

He said his government was ready to open honest and constructive dialogue with the opposition.

“So far, democracy has not been implemented in our country in a manner that satisfies us all,” Abiy said.

“Together, we need to strive to strengthen our adherence to our constitutionally-mandated rights that include the accommodation of varying political views, equality before the law, accountability, human rights and freedom of assembly,” he said in a speech shown on state television.

Today the prime minister is in the northern city of Mekelle as he continues his nationwide tour days after he was sworn into office.

He has hit the ground running, visiting thousands of people displaced by inter-ethnic clashes and also toured an area that has been the epicentre of widespread demonstrations witnessed in the country since 2015.

Earlier this week, the US congress passed a resolution condemning the killings of innocent civilians during the protests.

Ethiopia, a staunch ally of the US in the fight against terrorism, has said the non-binding resolution was untimely and unfortunate.

The country is currently in a state of emergency imposed in February to deal with nearly three years of protests in which hundreds of people have been killed.

Culled from BBC

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