Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. He can be reached on [email protected]
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo would have a busy schedule in Ethiopia on Tuesday, meeting with Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew in Addis Ababa at 9.40 a.m. and with President Sahle-Work Zewde just 35 minutes later at 10.15 a.m. before meeting with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed 45 minutes after at 11 a.m., according to his official schedule released by the State Department in Washington D.C.
Secreatary Pompeo will then attend a working lunch with Abiy Ahmed at 11.30 a.m. before meeting with the Inter-Religious Council at 12.55 a.m.
From there, Secretary Pompeo will meet with staff and families of U.S. Embassy Ethiopia and U.S. Mission to the African Union at 2 p.m. and rush to meet with the African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat at 2.50 p.m. and hold a joint press availability with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew in Addis Ababa at 4.20 p.m.
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Mr. Pompeo’s official trip to Ethiopia comes after his traveled to Germany, Senegal and Angola. From Ethiopia he is expected to visit Saudia Arabia and Oman. By the time he is done, it would be February 22, 2020, almost 10 days after leaving Washington D.C. on 13 February 2020.
But despite his busy schedule, will Mr. Pompeo raise one of the most serious issues in Ethiopia, the human rights abuses by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
On Monday, Amnesty International condemned the police assault on opposition members just a day earlier.
Amnesty said on Saturday, police in Ethiopia launched an attack on opposition party supporters in the Oromia Region, killing one person and arresting and injuring scores more.
Just hours after the date for Ethiopia’s parliamentary elections was announced, the Oromia Liyu police raided the inauguration of an Oromia Liberation Front (OLF) office in Welenchiti, firing live bullets and tear gas, killing one OLF supporter who was a clothes vendor.
Later that day, police arrested around 30 guests at a hotel launch party in Burayu and drove them to a sports stadium where they were beaten and humiliated for hours.
“These brazen attacks show just how dangerous it is becoming to assemble and express political stances in Ethiopia,” said Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East and Southern Africa, Seif Magango.
“Raids on opposition gatherings must not be allowed to become a feature of the pre-election period. The authorities must immediately launch an independent and effective investigation into these attacks and hold suspects to account in fair trials.”