The President and Prime Minister of Ethiopia hold a Joint Press Conference

The President and Prime Minister of Ethiopia hold a Joint Press Conference


Prime Minister Hailemariam:
Members of the press, ladies and gentlemen, I would like
to once again welcome His Excellency, the President of
the United States of America, to Ethiopia. We are honored to
receive a sitting U.S. President for the first time
in the history of our century-long diplomatic
relations. But again, we believe it’s
fitting and appropriate in the light of the fact that
Ethiopia is the Cradle of Mankind, the beacon light
for African independence, and an inspiration for all
the black people’s struggles, and the political
capital of Africa. Ethiopia is the
birthplace of coffee — (laughter) — and with so many firsts
to its name, and as such a first and historic visit
by the first U.S. President of African origin,
I believe it’s a well-deserved one. His visit comes at a time
when both Africa and Ethiopia are registering
impressive growth, making important strides. For Ethiopia, the economy
has registered double-digit growth for the last 12
years, uninterruptedly. His visit also comes at a
time when we’re working hard in improving governance and
fighting insecurity, conflicts and terrorism. His visit could not have
come at a better time, as the leader of the most
powerful nation on Earth, diplomatically,
economically, and more importantly, in science and
technology and education — the very things Africa and
Ethiopia need in abundance if they are to sustain their
growth. President Obama’s visit
represents a new height in our bilateral relations. This morning, we have had
extensive bilateral discussions with President
Obama on a range of topics. We have discussed ways of
further deepening our bilateral relations and our
cooperation on a number of issues. Among the areas we have
discussed, we talked at lengths about the U.S. support in helping expand
trade and investment in Ethiopia. As you know, the U.S. is Ethiopia’s strategic
partner in many fields. And the steady of flow of
quality investment from the United States, as much as we
crave it, though the recent beginning is so
encouraging, has often been in short supply. We have discussed, among
other things, how to encourage U.S. investors to come to
Ethiopia in large numbers, where there are numerous
competitive and comparative advantages they
can benefit from. We have discussed how best
we can take advantage of President Obama’s signature
Power Africa initiative, which is, in our case, has
already seen significant progress made with 1,000
megawatts geothermal contract to be signed
this afternoon. We have also discussed ways
of scaling up the successful projects that President
Obama launched four years ago in his flagship Alliance
for Food Security program, and launching of similar
initiatives. We have also discussed and
reached an understanding on coordinating our efforts in
the global effort to fight climate change, and to work
together for the success of the COP 21
negotiations in Paris. Likewise, we have exchanged
ideas on ways the U.S. can champion the Addis Ababa
action agenda during the negotiations of the
sustainable development goals in New York next
September. We have also agreed to work
on global health epidemics. We have raised a number of
issues on how the U.S. can support the
strengthening of Ethiopia’s democratization process. My government has expressed
its commitment to deepen the democratic process already
underway in the country, and work towards the respect of
human rights and improving governance. We have reiterated once
again that our commitment to democracy is real, not
skin-deep. We have both noted that we
need to step up efforts to strengthen our institutions
and build our capacity in various areas. We believe that U.S. support in this regard as
age-old democracy will contribute to ensuring that
our system becomes robust. We have agreed to continue
our engagement despite minor differences here and there
with regard mainly to the speed with which our
democratization process is moving. Finally, we have discussed a
range of issues related to cooperation on security and
peace-building in the region and on the pivotal role the
U.S. can and does play. We have agreed to work
closely on South Sudan to bring lasting peace to the
conflict-ridden country. We have both agreed to work
together in building peace in Somalia by helping create
stable institutions and by strengthening the Somali
security forces in their quest to be in charge of the
peace of their own country. We have agreed to intensify
the campaign against terrorism in the region, and
we both noted with satisfaction the progress
AMISOM forces and Somali National Army are making,
with the support of the U.S. and other partners, in their
fight against al-Shabaab. We have agreed to deepen our
intelligence cooperation both bilaterally as well
as regionally. We have both noted and
underscored that this cooperation is essential to
curb the menace posed by terrorism. The terrorist attack that
was launched in Mogadishu yesterday is a stark
reminder that we need to work even more in this
respect. In conclusion, we have
agreed to continue working together for better
results in all aspects of our cooperation. Mr. President, I now call
upon you to give your remarks. President Obama: Well, thank
you, Mr. Prime Minister. Good afternoon. Dehna walach-hu. Prime Minister Hailemariam,
we appreciate your kind words and for the welcome
that you’ve extended to our delegation. We’ve had very productive
meetings here today. And after our bilateral, I
had a chance to see the famous lions that live on
the grounds. I’m considering getting some
for the White House. (laughter) Although I’ll have to make
sure that my dogs are safe. (laughter) To the people of Ethiopia,
thank you for the warmth and enthusiasm of your welcome
and the spirit of friendship that you’ve shown me since
I’ve been in Addis. I am proud to be the first
U.S. President to visit Ethiopia,
and, tomorrow, the first U.S. President to address the
African Union. So my visit reflects the
importance the United States places on our relationship
with Ethiopia and all the nations and peoples of
Africa. As you noted, Ethiopia and
the United States share a long friendship. Our people have worked
together, traded with each other, and stood alongside
one another for more than 100 years. The United States is
strengthened by the contributions of Ethiopian
Americans every day — and that’s particularly true in
our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., which has
the largest Ethiopian community outside of
Ethiopia — or at least outside of Africa. And we welcome Ethiopian
students to study in the United States. Through our Young African
Leaders Initiative, we’re helping to empower dynamic
young Ethiopians with the tools that they need to make
a difference in their communities. Ethiopia also hosts one of
the largest Peace Corps programs in the world and
has welcomed thousands of young Americans over
the years. So the connections between
our peoples are both deep and enduring. And today, the Prime
Minister and I spoke about how we can strengthen the
cooperation between our nations. First, we’re going to
continue working together to advance Ethiopia’s
economic progress. Ethiopia has one of the
fastest-growing economies in the world and one of the
largest economies in Africa. And we want to sustain that
momentum, because a growing and inclusive economy in
Ethiopia means more opportunities for the
Ethiopian people and more trade and investment between
our nations, which, in turn, helps to create
American jobs. With the renewal of the
African Growth and Opportunity Act, we’ll work
to further open American markets to Ethiopian
products and help expand private sector investment in
Ethiopia. Through our Power Africa
initiative, we’re working to unlock Ethiopia’s potential
for geothermal energy with the nation’s first private
sector energy agreement. And this will help the
government meet its ambitious goal of
significantly increasing access to electricity across
Ethiopia and help open the market to developing
Ethiopia’s other vast renewable energy sources. Second, we’re stepping up
our cooperation on development, where Ethiopia
has proven itself a global leader. To many people around the
world, their image of Ethiopia remains stuck in
the past — remembering drought and famine. But in the past 15 years,
Ethiopia has lifted millions of people out of poverty. We’re working closely
together to improve food security, to help farmers
plant drought-resistant and higher-yield crops. We’re building resilience to
climate change. Fewer people are suffering
needlessly from preventable diseases like malaria. More children are
getting an education. Of course, there are still
too many people, particularly in the rural
areas, living in deprivation, so we have to
keep moving on the progress that’s been made. Prime Minister Hailemariam
has demonstrated his commitment to eliminating
extreme poverty. Ethiopia recently hosted the
International Conference on Financing for Development,
which secured a global consensus about how the
nations of the world will deliver on our promises,
especially to those most in need. Your Prime Minister played a
vital role in forging that consensus, and Ethiopia is
now helping to shape a new set of sustainable
development goals for the world. Third, our security
cooperation is pushing back against violent extremism. Ethiopia faces serious
threats, and its contribution to the African
Union mission in Somalia have reduced areas under
al-Shabaab control. But, as the Prime Minister
noted, yesterday’s bombing in Mogadishu reminds us that
terrorist groups like al-Shabaab offer nothing but
death and destruction and have to be stopped. We’ve got more work to do. This past week, Ethiopian
troops have helped retake two major al-Shabaab
strongholds. We have to now keep the
pressure on. Ethiopia is a major
contributor, as well, to U.N. peacekeeping efforts; it
contributes more troops than any other country in Africa. And we’re working together
to improve the ability of Ethiopian peacekeepers to
respond rapidly to emerging crises, before they spiral
into widespread violence. Ethiopia has also been a key
partner as we seek to resolve the ongoing crisis
in South Sudan. Later today, the Prime
Minister and I will meet with leaders from across the
region to discuss ways we can encourage the government
and opposition in South Sudan to end the violence
and move toward a peace agreement. I want to thank Ethiopia for
the sanctuary it provides hundreds of thousands of
refugees who have fled South Sudan and conflicts
throughout the region. And finally, I would note
that everything I’ve mentioned –sustained and
inclusive growth, development, security gains
–also depends on good governance. We had a frank discussion. In a global economy that’s
increasingly driven by technology and the Internet,
continued growth in Ethiopia depends on the free flow of
information and open exchanges of ideas. I believe that when all
voices are being heard, when people know that they’re
included in the political process, that makes a
country stronger and more successful and more
innovative. So we discussed steps that
Ethiopia can take to show progress on promoting good
governance, protecting human rights, fundamental
freedoms, and strengthening democracy. And this is an area where we
intend to deepen our conversations and
consultation, because we strongly believe in
Ethiopia’s promise and its people. Ethiopia is a strong partner
with the United States and a leader on so many vital
issues in the region. And it has the opportunity
now to extend its leadership in ways that benefit all of
Ethiopia’s people and that sets a positive example for
the region. It’s hard work, but my
message today to the people of Ethiopia is that, as you
take steps moving your country forward, the United
States will be standing by you the entire way. So, Prime Minister, thank
you for your hospitality and for the important work that
our nations do together. Ameseginalehu. (applause) The Press: Thank you very
much, Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister. Mr. President, you mentioned
earlier that combatting terrorism is one of the
areas in which Ethiopia and the U.S. are partnering. However, organizations
based in the U.S. and Eritrea are (inaudible) in Ethiopia’s
anti-terrorism efforts. How will your government
assist Ethiopia in this regard? And secondly, in regards to
trade and investment cooperation, how committed
is your government to transform the aid-based
Ethiopia-U.S. relations to a mutually
beneficial trade and investment cooperation? Thank you very much. President Obama: Well, on
the first issue, this was part of our conversation
both with respect to security, but also with
respect to good governance and human rights issues. Our policy is that we
oppose terrorism wherever it may occur. And we are opposed to any
group that is promoting the violent overthrow of a
government, including the government of Ethiopia, that has
been democratically elected. I also shared with the Prime
Minister our interest in deepening intelligence
cooperation. And we’ve had some fruitful
discussions about ending the flow of foreign
financing for terrorism. Our cooperation regionally
is excellent. I know that there are
certain groups that have been active in Ethiopia
that, from the Ethiopian government’s perspective,
pose a significant threat. Our intelligence indicates
that while they may oppose the government, they have
not tipped into terrorism. And we have some very clear
standards in terms of how we evaluate that. But what I indicated to the
Prime Minister is, is that in our consultations and
deepening intelligence cooperation, we will look
and see what evidence we have, where there are real
problems, and where we see genuine terrorist activity. That’s something that we are
going to want to cooperate with and stop. So a lot of this has to do
with how we define a particular group’s
activities. If they are just talking
about issues and are in opposition and are operating
as political organizations, we tend to be protective of
them even if we don’t agree with them. That’s true in the United
States; that’s true everywhere. And we think that’s part of
what’s necessary for a democracy. If they tip into activities
that are violent and are undermining a properly
constituted government, then we have a concern. And so this will be a matter
of facts — what are the facts with respect to this
issue — in determining how we can work together. On shifting development
models, part of what I’ve been preaching ever since I
came into office, and what we’ve been putting into
practice as I travel across the continent of Africa, but
this is also true in Latin America, it’s true in Asia
— in this modern world, it is not enough just to
provide aid. Sometimes aid is critical. I mean, we’re very proud of
the work that we’ve done to provide health aid that has
saved millions of lives with respect to HIV/AIDS. We are very proud of
our ability to mobilize humanitarian assistance when
there’s a drought and the potential for starvation. Those are still necessary. But what we also believe is
that we are your best partners and your best
friends when we are building capacity. So instead of just giving a
fish, we teach you how to fish. And whether it’s the work
we’re doing in agriculture, or on energy, our goal is
not to simply provide something and then we go
away, and then later on, we need to give you something
more. Our goal is to help you
advance your development agenda so that it’s
Ethiopian businesses and Ethiopian technical experts,
and Ethiopian scientists, and Ethiopian agricultural
workers who are continually building capacity and
increasing development inside the country. And on that, we can be a
very effective partner. And that, then, allows us
also to trade and engage the private sector in
this process. So, on Power Africa, for
example, we are providing billions of dollars
from the U.S. government, and we’re
leveraging the Swedish government and World Bank to
create a fund that helps to facilitate transactions. But what we’re also doing is
working with the Ethiopian government to leverage that
money so that the private sector says, we’d like to
invest in Ethiopia, as well, and helping advise the
Ethiopian Energy Ministry and technical experts on
what may be the best models for reaching rural areas,
for example — which may not always involve big power
plants but might involve off-grid, smaller models of
development that are sustainable and are not
dependent on constant financial flows from the
West, but instead build up local capacity and are best
suited for the particular environment where
electricity is needed. So that, I think, is going
to be true in health, energy, agriculture. The more that Ethiopians are
able to grow rapidly on their own, then our
relationship becomes one of mutual interest, mutual
respect. And Ethiopia then becomes a
leader, and it can then help other countries that are not
as advanced on the development scales. And then we can partner with
you to help Somalia as it’s rebuilding after decades of
failed governance. Mr. Earnest: Our next
question will come from Kevin Corke with Fox News. The Press: Thank you,
Mr. President. I’d like to ask you about
balance. And you often speak about
the importance of rewarding good governance, and so I’m
wondering how do you balance your obvious concerns about
human rights here in Ethiopia with a desire for
increased economic partnership and
strengthening regional security cooperation? And if I could follow up —
have you ruled out, or would you consider increased
military involvement by the United States in East Africa
to battle al-Shabaab? And if so, what lessons
could be learned from the battle against ISIS, for
example, that might be relevant here? And, Mr. Prime Minister,
thank you for your great hospitality in your
beautiful country. I’d like to ask you about
perception. For all the incredible
things that are happening here in Ethiopia — a
strengthening economy, great investment right now in
renewable energy infrastructure — there is
still a perception, sir, that human rights abuses are
tolerated here, and that could really be affecting
international investment in your economy. Are you concerned about
that? If so, how can concerned,
and what might you be doing, sir, to change that
perception? Thank you. President Obama: Well, as I
said in my opening remarks, this was a significant topic
of conversation. We are very mindful of
Ethiopia’s history — the hardships that this country
has gone through. It has been relatively
recently in which the constitution that was formed
and the elections put forward a democratically
elected government. And as I indicated when I
was in Kenya, there is still more work to do, and I think
the Prime Minister is the first to acknowledge that
there’s more work to do. The way we think about these
issues is we want to engage with governments on areas of
mutual concern and interest — the same way, by the way,
that we deal with China and deal with a range of other
countries where the democratic practices or
issues around freedom of the press and assembly are not
ones that align with how we are thinking about it, but
we continually bring it up and we indicate that this is
part of our core interest and concern in our foreign
policy. That’s true here as well. My observation to the Prime
Minister has been that the governing party has
significant breadth and popularity. And as a consequence, making
sure to open additional space for journalists, for
media, for opposition voices, will strengthen
rather than inhibit the agenda that the Prime
Minister and the ruling party has put forward. And I think our goal here is
to make sure that we are a constructive partner,
recognizing that Ethiopia has its own culture and it’s
not going to be identical to what we do, but there are
certain principles that we think have to be upheld. The one thing that I’ve
tried to be consistent on, though, is to make sure that
we don’t operate with big countries in one fashion and
small countries in another. Nobody questions our need to
engage with large countries where we may have
differences on these issues. That’s true with Africa as
well. We don’t improve cooperation
and advance the very interest that you talk about
by staying away. So we have to be in a
conversation. And I think the Prime
Minister will indicate that I don’t bite my tongue too
much when it comes to these issues, but I do so from a
position of respect and regard for the Ethiopian
people, and recognizing their history and the
challenges that they continue to face. With respect to our military
assistance, keep in mind that we have been active in
the fight against al-Shabaab for a long time now. And we’ve been partnering
with Ethiopia and Kenya and Uganda and the African Union
and AMISOM. And that’s something that I
think those other countries would agree has been a very
effective partnership. Part of the reason that
we’ve seen the shrinkage of al-Shabaab’s activities in
East Africa is because we have our military teams in
consultation with regional forces and local forces, and
there are certain capacities that we have that some of
these militaries may not, and I think there’s been
complementarity in the work that we’ve done together. So we don’t need to send our
own Marines, for example, in to do the fighting. The Ethiopians are tough
fighters. And the Kenyans and Ugandans
have been serious about putting troops on the
ground, at significant sacrifice, because they
recognize the importance of stabilizing the region. That’s why, in the past,
I’ve said, for example, that the work that we’re doing in
Somalia is a model. Some in the press have noted
that al-Shabaab is still here, and they say, well,
how can that be a model if you still have
bombs going off? The point that I was making
at that time is not that defeating any of these
terrorist networks is easy, or that the problems
in Somalia are completely solved. The point I was making was
that a model in which we are partnering with other
countries and they are providing outstanding troops
on the ground — we’re working with, in this case,
the Somali government, which is still very much in its
infancy, to develop its national security capacity
— so that we’re doing things that we can do
uniquely but does not require us putting boots on
the ground — that’s the model that we’re talking
about. And Ethiopia is an
outstanding partner in that process. They have one of the most
effective militaries on the continent. And as I noted in my earlier
remarks, they are also one of the biggest contributors
to peacekeeping. And so they’re averting a
lot of bloodshed and a lot of conflict because of the
effectiveness of their military, and we want to
make sure that we’re supporting that. Prime Minister Hailemariam:
We fully understand that the perception and the reality
does not, in many cases, match as far as Ethiopia is
concerned. Therefore, we want to
work on this issue; it’s our concern. But something has to be
understood that this is a fledgling democracy, and we
are coming out of centuries of undemocratic practices
and culture in this country. And it’s not easy within a
few decades — in our case, only two decades of
democratization — that we can get rid of all this
attitudinal problems, and some challenge we face. But we feel that we are on
the right track, and there is a constitutional
democracy which we all are obliged to observe for the
sake of our own people and prosperity. So I think this is a way
that we have to work on. That’s why I said in my
speech that we have to learn the best practices of the
United States and age-old democracies, because this is
a process of learning and doing, and I think we
fully understand that. And, of course, we also know
our limitations and we have to work on our limitations
to make ultimately to the betterment of our
own people. So I think that is a concern
that we have to work on. The Press: My question for
you, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is,
what do you expect from the United States and the rest
of the international community in terms of
supporting the peace and security efforts in the Horn
of Africa, as well as how successful was your
bilateral discussion with President Obama,
specifically in regards to economic ties? And, President Obama, my
question for you is, what are your thoughts
specifically on the IGAD Plus peacekeeping efforts
in South Sudan? Prime Minister Hailemariam:
As far as the economic cooperation is concerned, I
mentioned that Ethiopia is one of the vibrant
economies, which is rising. And we need — you know, we
don’t want to put all our eggs in one basket. We need a comprehensive
quality investment from every corner of the globe. And specifically, at this
time, we agreed that the President is going to
support us, his government is going to support us in
bringing quality investment to Ethiopia. We have longstanding
relations, diplomatic relations, but the
investment flow doesn’t match that long history of
cooperation between Ethiopia and the United States. So I think there is room. Recently, we have a number
of renowned companies from the United States showing up
to invest in my country. But we also understand that
we have to improve our investment climate and
environment where there are stifling issues here and
there, bureaucratic bottlenecks, that has to be
addressed. And we are on stop of them
and we can address them. I think by doing so, we can
attract more foreign direct investment from the
United States. As far as the security
cooperation in concerned, I think we believe that
Africans should take our own responsibility by our own
hand. We need support from the
United States, but it doesn’t meant that the
United States is going to replace us in picking our
own agenda in Africa. That’s why Ethiopia is
contributing peacekeeping force — a number which the
President has mentioned. And we’re also working on
increasing the capability of our troops in peacekeeping. But the most important thing
is we have to engage the people of Africa and their
respective countries to make peace and the governance
system that helps the people to engage. So I think we are on the
right track. And we can make changes in
Somalia and, I am hopeful, also in South Sudan. And I think in many cases,
this shouldn’t mar the picture of Africa where, in
large, Africa is now rising, and Africa is showing —
becoming the next growing tide for economic
development and cooperation. So I think we are on the
right track in this cooperation. President Obama: IGAD has
been a vital partner to the international community in
leading discussions between Mr. Kiir, Mr. Machar, the
government opposition figures in South Sudan. Unfortunately, the situation
continues to deteriorate. That’s not because IGAD has
not tried hard enough. I know that between Prime
Minister Hailemariam and other partners in IGAD,
there has been a lot of time and a lot of effort to push
the parties together. Nevertheless, the situation
is deteriorating. The humanitarian situation
is worsening. The possibilities of renewed
conflict in a region that has been torn by conflict
for so long and has resulted in so many deaths is
something that requires urgent attention from all of
us, including the international community. That’s why, after this press
conference, we’ll be consulting with leaders from
the other countries who have been involved in IGAD to see
how the United States, IGAD, and the international
community can work to bring a peace agreement and a
structure to fruition sometime in the next several
weeks. We don’t have a lot of time
to wait. The conditions on the ground
are getting much, much worse. And part of my interest in
calling together this meeting was to find out how
we can help. Up until this point, it’s
been very useful to have the African countries
take the lead. As Prime Minister
Hailemariam stated, the more that Africans are solving
African problems, the better off we’re going to be. But we also think that we
can be a mechanism for additional leverage on the
parties, who, up until this point, have proven very
stubborn and have not yet risen to the point where
they are looking out for the interests of their nation as
opposed to their particular self-interests. And that transition has to
take place, and it has to take place now. Mr. Earnest: The final
question will come from Darlene Superville with the
Associated Press. The Press: Thank you,
Mr. President. I wanted to follow up on
the Sudan question. As you go into this meeting
that you just mentioned, are you expecting any
breakthroughs that will get both sides to agree to a
peace deal by the August 17th deadline? And if there is no
agreement, what further steps would you be willing
to take to bring that about? And if I could
ask about Iran. Would you kindly bring us
up to date on the administration’s lobbying of
Congress to get approval for the deal? And would you include your
reaction to Republican Presidential candidate Mike
Huckabee saying that the deal is the equivalent of
marching the Israelis toward “the door of the oven”? Mr. Prime Minister, thank
you for your hospitality. Would you also add your
thoughts on the situation in Sudan and how to bring peace
over there? The second question I have
for you is, the Committee to Protect Journalists ranks
your country as the second-worst jailer of
journalists in Africa. Just before President Obama
arrived here, some journalists were released. Many more are still
being detained. Would you explain what
issues or objections you have to a free press? Thank you. President Obama: On South
Sudan, the goal here is to make sure that the United
States and IGAD are aligned on a strategy going into
this endgame on peace talks. So my hope is that, as a
result of these consultations, that we agree
on how urgent it is and what each of us have to do to
actually bring a deal about. I don’t want to prejudge
what I’ll hear from the President of Uganda, for
example, until I actually hear from him. But the good news is that
all of us recognize that something has got to move,
because IGAD has now been involved with consultations
with these individuals for a very, very long time, and
our special envoys that have been involved in this for
years now have concluded that now is the time for a
breakthrough. And if we don’t see a
breakthrough by August 17th, then we’re going to have to
consider what other tools we have to apply greater
pressure on the parties. And that’s something I think
the parties will certainly hear from us. Our hope is that the message
we deliver is similar to the message that they get from
the IGAD countries and others who are
interested in the issue. With respect to Iran, I
won’t give a grade to our lobbying efforts. In fact, I’m not even sure
I’d characterize it as lobbying. What we’re doing is
presenting facts about an international agreement that
99 percent of the world thinks solves a vital
problem in a way that will prevent Iran from getting a
nuclear weapon, and does so diplomatically. And essentially what we’ve
been seeing is Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary
of Energy Ernie Moniz — who is an expert on nuclear
issues — just providing the facts, laying out exactly
what the deal is, explaining how it cuts off all the
pathways for Iran to get a nuclear weapon; explaining
how it puts in place unprecedented verification
and inspection mechanisms; explaining how we have
snapback provisions so that if they cheat, we
immediately re-impose sanctions; explaining also
how we will continue to address other aspects of
Iranian behavior that are of deep concern to us and our
allies — like providing arms to terrorist
organizations. So the good news, I guess,
is that I have not yet heard a factual argument on the
other side that holds up to scrutiny. There’s a reason why 99
percent of the world thinks that this is a good deal —
it’s because it’s a good deal. There’s a reason why the
overwhelming majority of nuclear scientists and
nonproliferation experts think it’s a good deal —
it’s because it’s a good deal. It accomplishes our goal,
which is making sure Iran does not have a
nuclear weapon. In fact, it accomplishes
that goal better than any alternative that has
been suggested. And you’ve heard me,
Darlene, stand up in front of the press corps and try
to get a good argument on the other side that’s based
in fact as opposed to rhetoric. And I haven’t gotten one
yet. So if you’re asking me, how
do you think our argument is going, it’s going great. Now, if you’re asking me
about the politics of Washington and the rhetoric
that takes place there, that doesn’t always go great. The particular comments of
Mr. Huckabee are, I think, part of just a general
pattern that we’ve seen that is — would be
considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad. We’ve had a
sitting senator call John Kerry
Pontius Pilate. We’ve had a sitting senator
who also happens to be running for President
suggest that I’m the leading state sponsor
of terrorism. These are leaders in
the Republican Party. And part of what
historically has made America great is,
particularly when it comes to foreign policy, there’s
been a recognition that these issues are too
serious, that issues of war and peace are of such grave
concern and consequence that we don’t play fast
and loose that way. We have robust debates, we
look at the facts, there are going to be disagreements. But we just don’t fling out
ad hominem attacks like that, because it
doesn’t help inform the American people. I mean, this is a deal that
has been endorsed by people like Brent Scowcroft and
Sam Nunn — right? — historic Democratic and
Republican leaders on arms control and on keeping
America safe. And so when you get rhetoric
like this, maybe it gets attention and maybe this is
just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the
headlines, but it’s not the kind of leadership that
is needed for America right now. And I don’t think that’s
what anybody — Democratic, Republican, or independent
— is looking for out of their political leaders. In fact, it’s been
interesting when you look at what’s happened with
Mr. Trump, when he’s made some of the remarks that,
for example, challenged the heroism of Mr. McCain,
somebody who endured torture and conducted himself with
exemplary patriotism, the Republican Party is shocked. And yet, that arises out of
a culture where those kinds of outrageous attacks have
become far too commonplace and get circulated nonstop
through the Internet and talk radio and
news outlets. And I recognize when
outrageous statements like that are made about me, that
a lot of the same people who were outraged when they were
made about Mr. McCain were pretty quiet. The point is we’re creating
a culture that is not conducive to good policy
or good politics. The American people
deserve better. Certainly, Presidential
debates deserve better. In 18 months, I’m turning
over the keys — I want to make sure I’m turning over
the keys to somebody who is serious about the serious
problems the country faces and the world faces. And that requires on both
sides, Democrat and Republican, a sense of
seriousness and decorum and honesty. And I think that’s what the
voters expect, as well. Prime Minister Hailemariam:
As regards to South Sudan, I cannot agree more with
the President. But we should also recognize
that this process has taken a long, long
negotiation period. And, on the other hand,
people are suffering on the ground, and we cannot let
this go unchecked. And I think the meeting
which we are making this afternoon has a strong
signal and message that has to be passed to the parties
in South Sudan to see that that they’re (inaudible) first. So I think this is very
much essential. And I fully recognize what
the President has said, and we’ll see how it happens. As far as Ethiopia is
concerned, we need journalists. We need more of them and
quality of them, because we have not only bad stories to
be told, but we have many success stories that
has to be told. And so we need you. This is very important. But we need ethical
journalism to function in this country. And there is limitation
capacity in all aspects of our works, there is also
capacity limitations in journalism and that way. Maybe those of you who are
in developed nations, you can help our journalists —
domestic journalists — to increase their capacity to
work on ethical manner. But the only thing as a
leader of this nation we do not want to see is
journalism has to be respected when it doesn’t
pass the line; that working with violent terrorist
groups is not allowed — even in the United States. And we need civilized
journalism as a culture and as a profession. So I think my government is
committed to this issue, that we need many young
journalists to come up and help this country to
understand what’s going on. And for us, it’s very
important to be criticized because we also get feedback
to correct our mistakes and limitations. So we need journalists. And I think this
is our view. And rest assured that we’ll
continue to do so, because the media is one of the
institutions that has to be nurtured for democratic
discourse. And so that’s why we agree
that institutional capacity-building in all
aspects of democracy in this country is essential. President Obama: Thank
you very much.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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