The United States is very concerned over the situation in Ethiopia, particularly the instability in the Oromia and Amhara regions, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in an interview. Speaking in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting, Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield called the response by the government to protests an “intense and somewhat harsh crackdown:”
“We have had discussions with the Ethiopian government encouraging that they have dialogue, and that they open the possibly for press freedom, civil society’s ability to function, and that many of the people who have been put in jail be released.”
In Oromia anti-government protests began in November 2015, and they have also occurred in the northern Amhara region.
Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield said the United States believes that the situation in the country could deteriorate and that the Ethiopian government is aware of that possibility as well.
“We’ve met with Prime Minister Hailemariam [Desalegn] in New York, and we have encouraged him to look at how the government is addressing this situation.”
“We think,” she said, “it could get worse if it’s not addressed – sooner rather than later.”