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President Obama Holds Talks With Ethiopian Leaders Over Security and Human Rights

President Barack Obama with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. (Sayyid Azim, AP)

President Barack Obama huddled with Ethiopia's leaders on Monday for talks on counterterrorism, human rights and regional security issues, including the crisis in neighbouring South Sudan.



Obama's visit marks the first visit by a sitting US president to Ethiopia. He arrived at the National Palace in the capital of Addis Ababa for a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, followed by a joint news conference.

Later Monday, Obama was to convene a meeting of African leaders on the situation in South Sudan. The world's newest nation has been gripped by civil war for months, spurred by a conflict between warring factions in the government.

South Sudan is facing an August 17 deadline to accept a peace and power-sharing agreement, though US officials say they're pessimistic a deal will be reached. Obama's meeting with regional leaders is aimed in part at considering an international response if the deadline passes without a deal.

Obama arrived in Ethiopia on Sunday night after a stop in Kenya, his late father's homeland.

Like Kenya, Ethiopia has a fast-growing economy but faces challenges from the al-Shabaab terrorist threat based across the border in Somalia. Ethiopia has partnered with the US in the fight against terrorism, sharing intelligence with American officials and sending troops into Somalia to address instability there.
Ethiopia 643498807942028208

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