ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA – In a series of meetings in Ethiopia’s capital, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) expressed support for the strong cooperation between the U.S. and Ethiopia to counter shared regional threats, including al Shabaab.

Royce’s bipartisan delegation to Ethiopia, which included Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), also discussed development and economic growth, and the delegation pressed Ethiopian officials on issues of human rights – including freedom of the press, and greater opportunities and rights for women. 

Chairman Royce meets with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister

Ethiopia is a stable and strong partner in a region plagued by violence and unrest,” Chairman Royce said in a statement at the conclusion of the visit.  “Thanks to its efforts to confront extremism, al Shabaab has not expanded footholds in the Horn of Africa. Their impressive contributions to a number of peacekeeping missions should be commended.”        

“I also commend the Ethiopian government for the key role it has played in leading the regional mediation efforts between the warring factions in South Sudan. It is unfortunate South Sudan’s own leaders are not putting in comparable efforts to stave off more bloodshed in their own country. I will continue to press for an arms embargo to decrease the bloodshed that has forced millions from their homes.”

“This visit was also an important opportunity to discuss Ethiopia’s impressive economic growth, and opportunities for additional U.S. private-sector investment.  Stronger U.S.-Ethiopia relations will mean greater security, human rights advances and greater opportunities to lift families and workers out of poverty.”

The delegation met with the following Ethiopian, American, and African Union officials:

  • Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn;
  • Africa Union Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha;
  •  Ethiopian Speaker of House of People’s Representatives Abadula Gemeda;
  •  U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Patricia Haslach, and;
  • U.S. Ambassador to the African Union Susan Page.

Between meetings, the delegation visited Muya Ethiopia, an employer of Ethiopian weavers, potters and artisans that exports goods to global markets – including the United States – thanks to AGOA legislation that Chairman Royce has long championed and successfully reauthorized in 2015.  The delegation heard consistently how critical AGOA is to job creation and economic growth. 

Chairman Royce visits Muya Ethiopia

Before departing, the delegation also spent time Sunday morning with children at AHOPE, a housing and community support program for HIV positive orphans in Addis Ababa.