ADDIS ABEBA – Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Thursday reiterated United States’ support to what he called “historic reform” unveiling in Ethiopia.
Pompeo said this while speaking with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed over the phone on various issues of bilateral and regional issues, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Department of State.
“The Secretary highlighted the importance of the strong partnership between the United States and Ethiopia and the United States’ support for Ethiopia’s historic reforms,” it says.
The two also discussed last week’s violent protests in Oromia, which claimed at least 78 people and many more injured.
Department of State underscored the “need to peacefully address the challenge of ethnic conflict”.
The statement has not said anything about the trilateral meeting which Washington will host over the Renaissance dam next week. Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan have already confirmed to attend the meeting of the foreign ministers of the three nations.
Meanwhile, the Department of State’s statement claims Abiy and Pompeo also discussed regional issues.
“The Secretary asked for the Prime Minister’s support in brokering a sustainable implementation of the national unity government called for in South Sudan’s peace agreement,” Department of States says.
On Wednesday, South Sudan’s main opposition leader called for a six-month extension to a deadline of Nov. 12 for forming a unity government, confirming the country’s peace process would not adhere to its original timeline.
Former rebel leader Riek Machar’s spokesman said the additional time would “give room” for resolving issues.
Puok Both Buluang also said the extension would only be worthwhile if the government released funds it had agreed to spend on implementing the peace deal.
Both the government and opposition have disagreed on details of the deal, including the integration of rebels into the army and the number of states the country should have.
Under the deal, they agreed to hold elections after a three-year transition period.