President Obama used the first visit of any sitting U.S. president to Ethiopia's capital to say that country has "more work to do" in its transition to democracy and dedication to respecting human rights.
"We are very mindful of Ethiopia's history," Obama said in Addis Ababa during a joint appearance with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. Ethiopia's Constitution and democratically elected governance are relatively new constructs there, Obama conceded, but Desalegn's ruling party needs to do more.
"I don't bite my tongue too much when it comes to these issues," Obama said in explaining that he raised the issue with Desalegn during their private meeting. But he said he raised the issues "with respect," and said the U.S. will try to be a "constructive partner."
However, as he did in Kenya or does when engaging China, Obama said he believes that respecting human rights and the democratic process is a core "interest and concern in our foreign policy."