Obama flew to Ethiopia, after a two-day visit to Kenya, where he was greeted in the airport by Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegne. Witnesses claim that Obama’s arrival has contrasted with the cheerful greeting he received from Kenyans.
After delivering a joint press conference, the US president is set to address the African Union, which has its headquarters in Ethiopia's capital city Addis Ababa.
According to US officials, President Obama will discuss with African leaders a “plan B” for South Sudan that could include sanctions or other penalties if the country’s warring parties do not forge a peace deal by mid-August.
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The conflict has left thousands of deaths after 19 months since it sparked, which has raised concerns amongst neighboring nations.
Mr. Obama's visit has come under widespread criticism as the Ethiopian government is notorious for its human rights abuses and both heads of state will address security concerns.
The country is a leading receptor of US aid as part of Washington's efforts to counter terrorist groups, mainly the Somalia-based jihadist group al-Shabab.
The government party in Ethiopia controls 100 percent of congress seats and the Desalegne administration has been accused of jailing bloggers, journalists and critics by appealing to national security concerns.
Many fear that Obama's visit will be used by the Ethiopian government as a political gain in its efforts to sanitize its reputation.
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