“I applaud his historic reform efforts, including improving respect for human rights, reforming the business environment, and making peace with Eritrea,” tweeted Vice President Mike Pence

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Friday and praised “the historic reform efforts” undertaken by Abiy since assuming power in April, the White House said in a statement.

Pence noted Abiy’s efforts at “improving respect for human rights, reforming the business environment, and making peace with Eritrea,” the statement said.

“The two leaders underscored their countries’ shared values and their commitment to building an even stronger partnership in the days ahead,” it said.

Under Abiy, Ethiopia has instituted reforms including releasing political prisoners, diluting state control of the economy and making peace with northern neighbor Eritrea after two decades of hostility.

A 41-year-old former intelligence officer, Abiy came to power after his predecessor resigned earlier this year amid protests against abuses by security forces and public anger over perceived ethnic marginalization of many groups in the racially diverse country.

While in Washington Abiy was also scheduled to meet with members of Ethiopia’s large diaspora community in the United States, whose remittances have helped prop up the economy.

Abiy is also due to visit Minneapolis and Los Angeles and will hold meetings with Ethiopian communities in both cities according to a press briefing by the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC.

Continue reading this story at Reuters
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