Araweelo News Network

During a visit to Ethiopia, Rex Tillerson has said the answer to violence in the East African country was greater freedom, and that the country should lift its state of emergency as quickly as possible.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

Speaking at a news conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Thursday, Tillerson said that the US recognized concerns over incidents of violence but “we do firmly believe that the answer is greater freedom.”

“While we appreciate the government’s responsibility to maintain control … it is important that country moves on past the state of emergency as quickly as possible,” he said.

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency in February to restore “law and order” after the prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, resigned suddenly. Although Ethiopia had looked like it was slowly opening up to allow more freedom for people who hold different opinions to the government, the resignation and emergency decree have triggered further political uncertainty and fueled strikes and shutdowns.

Tillerson critical of China’s policy in Africa

During the press conference, the US Secretary of State also repeated comments he made earlier in the week for African countries to ensure they don’t forfeit their sovereignty when they accept loans from China.

China surpassed the US in 2009 to become Africa’s biggest trading partner – and its share of trade continues to grow compared to the United States. China also pumps billions into infrastructure projects around the continent, although these have attracted criticism for using Chinese labor and firms, and low-quality materials.

source: (Reuters)