With Landmark AU Address Obama Concludes Historic Ethiopia Visit

President Barack Obama concludes his historic trip to Ethiopia and Kenya with an address at the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa on Tuesday, July 28th, 2015. (Photo credit: Pete Souza)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — When President Obama flew to Kenya, his father’s birth country, late last week President Uhuru Kenyatta warmly welcomed him stating memorably that he had “arrived riding on the wings of history.” Obama is the first sitting U.S. President to visit both Kenya and Ethiopia, and Tuesday Obama became the first American President to address the African Union at its headquarters in Addis Ababa.

According to the White House, prior to his historic appearance at the African Union Obama also met privately with Ethiopian civil society leaders and human rights activists. In his subsequent speech at the AU Obama spoke about the dangers and risks posed to African countries by leaders who feel entitled to a permanent hold on power: “When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife — as we’ve seen in Burundi,” Obama said. “And this is often just a first step down a perilous path. And sometimes you’ll hear leaders say, well, I’m the only person who can hold this nation together. If that’s true, then that leader has failed to truly build their nation.”

Obama told the AU audience: “I stand before you as a proud American. I also stand before you as the son of an African. Africa and its people helped to shape America and allowed it to become the great nation that it is. And Africa and its people have helped shape who I am and how I see the world.” Obama added: “In the villages in Kenya where my father was born, I learned of my ancestors, and the life of my grandfather, the dreams of my father, the bonds of family that connect us all as Africans and Americans.”

Regarding Ethiopia’s lack of free press and opposition political space Obama said: “I believe Ethiopia will not fully unleash the potential of its people if journalists are restricted or legitimate opposition groups can’t participate in the campaign process.”

WATCH: Obama — Africa’s Progress Depends on Development, Democracy

Click here for the full transcript of Obama’s speech at www.whitehouse.gov.

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