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U.S. Department of State
96/10/09 Arrival Statement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
(Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
For Immediate Release October 9, 1996
ARRIVAL STATEMENT BY SECRETARY STATE
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
October 9, 1996
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Good evening. I'm very pleased to be here, in
Addis Ababa, on behalf of President Clinton to welcome the progress that
Ethiopia has made towards overcoming a legacy of dictatorship and civil
war. The United States is very pleased to be a partner in the new
Ethiopia. Through our assistance, we are helping the Ethiopian people
build a diplomatic society. One that respects human rights; we're
helping them rebuild and reform their economy.
Through the greater Greater Horn of Africa initiative we are helping
Ethiopia and its neighbors achieve stability and improve security in a
region, of course, that has known the tragedies of both war and famine.
One of my goals, during my stay here, will be to highlight the growing
U.S. commercial presence. Fifty years ago, the State Department had the
foresight to help one of our leading concerns, TWA, develop a new
airline based here in Addis. Fifty years later now, Ethiopian Airlines
is one of the most modern, quality airlines in the world and definitely
here in Africa. With all-Boeing fleets and long-haul aircraft, each
powered by Pratt Whitney engines, our aviation partnership between an
American company and Ethiopian Airlines is certainly flying high.
At the airport, before coming here, I toured the Large Engine Test
Center. That facility brings together the advanced technologies of
Boeing, Pratt Whitney and the Central Engineering Company of
Minneapolis, Minnesota of the United States. I also had a chance to see
the flight simulator that Ethiopian Airlines bought from Boeing. It's
the only one of its kind in Africa and the Middle East, and the only one
of its kind outside of the United States.
The number of American companies represented in Ethiopia has doubled in
the last two years. Our presence in Ethiopia, of course, means jobs not
only for Americans, but for Ethiopians as well. I hope that my visit to
Ethiopia encourages the people of this country to move further down the
path of economic reform and towards a more open democratic society.
That's the kind of path and the kind of development that will encourage
even more investment and will lead to a brighter future for Ethiopia's
I very much look forward to my day in Addis. I will be meeting Prime
Minister Meles, members of the government, opposition figures, and
human rights groups. Late in the afternoon, I 'll be visiting a Food
for Development project funded by United States AID. I will also tour
the OAU Conflict Management Center, along with Secretary General Salim,
and meet with the OAU Ambassadors, discussing with them how we can
cooperate to strengthen the OAU as a force for preventing and resolving
I see a number of colleagues here with me; Dr. Kellow and others from
the test center.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, part of your focus here will be Burundi. Do
you have an evaluation of the human rights situation in Burundi since
the military government took over in July?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: That's one of the subjects I intend to discuss
tomorrow with Prime Minister Meles. I will also receive a report from
Congressman Wolpe, who has been here in the region. My perception is
although the government that was put in place there has made some
improvements; there are still many human rights violations. The
governemnt still has a substantial distance to go. As I said earlier,
the United States hopes that the effect of the embargo will be conducive
to promoting a representative government and human rights. One of the
purposes of the next two days is to give me an opportunity to express
the United States' views on that subject, but also to hear the views of
those who are close to the scene and happen to be experts.
QUESTION: I thank God for getting a seat, a golden opportunity to
interview one of the most influential people on earth. Well, I have a
couple of questions. Do you anticipate seeing a change in the foreign
relations of the United States towards Africa since the Cold War is
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: The United States, I think, has an opportunity
to focus its energies on seeking development and improvement in Africa.
During the Cold War, constantly we were focused on polarizing issues
such as the roles various countries played in that struggle; now we can
put that behind us and understand that we can work together with all of
the countries in the region.
The United States will be emphasizing trade in the future because we
think that trade and investment, within these countries, is probably the
long term key to development. At the same time, I intend to fight hard
-- and I know President Clinton does -- to maintain our aid at the
highest possible level and assist economies in this region; especially
those that have opted for democracy and economic reform. I have just
come from Mali, where there were good example of that; where we are
giving considerable assistance because we want to recognize the progress
they have made. Certainly, our relations with Ethiopia have, I think,
justified considerable aid and assistance in the past year.
QUESTION: Can you talk a little about why you decided to do your
statement here instead of at the airport, and what you think about the
government's pattern of not letting local, private journalists attend
government press conferences?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: I feel that the government of Ethiopia has made
considerable progress in the direction of democratization. At the same
time, it is still a work in progress, but much remains to be done. One
of the areas of our concern is the freedom of the press and the
treatment of journalists; that's a subject we've consistently raised
with the government of Ethiopia; in the context of our good relations
with them. We try to schedule our press conferences in a place where all
journalists are able to participate. That's why the press conference
has been scheduled here tonight at the hotel.
QUESTION: When you meeting with the Prime Minister, do you plan talk
with him about the working conditions of the private journalists? For
example, the fact that Ethiopia has imprisoned a lot of journalists, and
top officials, including the Prime Minister, haven't allow private
journalists to attend their press conferences.
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Yes, as I said, I intend to raise those issues in
my meetings tomorrow. We have consistently raised this issue with them.
This is one of the things our good relationship with the country enables
us to do. We will be raising the issue in tomorrow's meetings as well.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, just over two years ago, a presidential
commission reported to President Clinton that as many as 21 million
people in the greater Horn of Africa were at risk for political
upheavals or natural disasters. The region seems to have stabilized a
bit since then, and I wonder if you would say a word about the US's role
in that process.
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Well, our Greater Horn of Africa Initiative was
meant to serve a crisis prevention purpose. More and more I think, the
best role the United States can play is to sense where these crises are
developing, and in a cooperative way, with countries in the region, as
well as countries outside the region take steps to prevent the crises
The famine situation appears to have improved somewhat in this region,
in part because of the initiative, and because of good fortunes with
the weather. At the same time, this is still a region where there are
matters of great concern and we're concerned about the attitude of Sudan
and its threat to its neighbors. In Somalia, where we have a small aid
program, the situation is one of concern to us. We continue to seek
reconciliation. Certainly, the situation in the Great Lakes area is a
matter of great concern; especially from the humanitarian standpoint.
We will continue to be involved; trying to identify problems as they
arise and take preventative steps to deal with them before they arise.
It will be a continuing problem; the kind of problem that is never
permanently solved. If we can, through greater contact with the region,
identify problems in advance and bring resources to bear --
particularly to bring the cooperation of countries in the region to bear
-- then I think there is a promising future.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, are you going to be ask Ethiopia to make some
kind of commitment to the " African Crisis Response Force?"
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Yes, that will certainly be a major subject of
discussion. We've had a preliminary reaction from them and we received
a very favorable reaction in Mali; that's one of the reasons I'm making
the trip to the countries in this region. I will try to get their ideas
and suggestions about the "African Crisis Response Force" which is a
very promising initiative. The reactions we received initially have
been promising. Prime Minister Meles, clearly, is one of the leading
figures in this region and his attitude toward it will be, I think,
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