German Chancellor Angela Merkel (PhD), who will be visiting Addis Ababa next week, declined to address the House of Peoples’ Representatives, which will return from recess for the second year term of the fifth parliament.
According to reliable sources, though Ethiopian authorities requested the head of the German federal government to address legislators, Merkel declined because “it is a one-party-dominated parliament and did not see the point in doing so”.
Merkel embarks Sunday on a visit to three African countries. She will first travel to Mali and Niger before coming to Ethiopia where she is to meet with Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn and visit the headquarters of the African Union.
The German Chancellor will arrive in Addis Ababa on Monday evening escorted by members of the German Federal Chancellery. However, there will be no economic or business delegation that will accompany the Chancellor during her visit; the reason being “logistical difficulties”. Merkel is expected to arrive in Addis Ababa in the evening hours and will be welcomed by an honor guard the next morning at the National Palace. Later on Wednesday, she will have a bilateral session with Prime Minister Hailemariam.
According to sources, Merkel will discuss the issue of using excessive and unnecessary force by security forces against protesters in different parts of the country. She will also address the issue of what sources said is “controlled opening” of the political space.
Her talks with Hailemariam will also focus on migration issues and the battle against terrorism.
During her visit, Merkel is also slated to meet with leaders from selected opposition parties and civil society representatives. According to sources, the meeting with leaders of opposition parties and representatives of civil societies, which are about six in total, will be held on embassy grounds. However, sources declined to name the opposition parties that will be meeting with the Chancellor or the topics of discussion.
Her meeting with leaders of opposition parties makes her the only foreign head of state and government that met with members of the opposition in recent years. During their visits to Ethiopia, US President Barack Obama, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have not met with leaders of opposition parties.
Also, during her visit, the Chancellor will inaugurate the new Julius Nyerere Peace and Security Building on the campus of the African Union (AU) on Tuesday. She will address representatives from AU member states and the diplomatic corps in the new plenary hall of the complex and will meet with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (PhD), chairwoman of the African Union Commission, AU commissioners and members of the AU Peace and Security Council.
The new building for the Peace and Security Department of the AU was financed by the German Federal Foreign Office and built by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
This is the second visit for Chancellor Merkel. She last visited Ethiopian in 2007.