Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) today delivered a statement at a Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing entitled “Reviewing Current Developments in Ethiopia.”

Below is Chairman Royce’s statement (as prepared for delivery) at the hearing:

“Thank you Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Bass for holding this timely hearing. Your continued engagement on this topic is impressive, including your recent travel to Ethiopia. I also want to recognize Rep. Mike Coffman for his work to advance human rights in Ethiopia.

Last April, the House passed House Resolution 128. The resolution called on the Government of Ethiopia to address governance and human right concerns head on, and we have indeed seen commendable progress since then. Since taking office in April, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has taken bold steps to reform Ethiopia’s government and economy. Tens of thousands of political prisoners have been released, and many more in exile have felt safe enough to return home. Media freedom has expanded, and the government has publicly recognized the need to systematically improve human rights conditions. Proposed economic reforms are encouraging.

There has also been historic progress towards resolving the conflict between Ethiopia and its neighbor, Eritrea. During my time as chairman of the Africa Subcommittee, we held hearings on the brutal conflict between these two countries. Years later, we can finally look upon the conflict with cautious optimism. The recent reconciliation between these two countries is very encouraging. Genuine peace and improved economic and security cooperation would bring stability and mutual prosperity to both Ethiopians and Eritreans.

But this is just the beginning. The road ahead for Prime Minister Abiy’s government will be challenging. It must increase accountability of government officials and security forces, and ensure that all citizen voices are heard and respected. The U.S. and Ethiopia have long enjoyed a strong bilateral relationship, rooted in shared security, economic and development interests. This committee will continue to track developments and looks forward to further strengthening our partnership and supporting Ethiopia’s efforts toward becoming a more free, inclusive and prosperous nation.

Thank you Chairman Smith.”