By Safvan Allahverdi
Ethiopia's new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, called on dissenters to take part in the country's politics at a public gathering in Washington, D.C. Friday.
Thousands of Ethiopians converged on the U.S. capital, where Ahmed met with the crowd and prominent political opponents for the first time since coming to power in April.
Ahmed noted that Ethiopians have seen no benefit from ethnic and religious divisions and called on the Ethiopian diaspora to unite for their country.
The ideals of love, compassion
He also ruled out the possibility of a transitional government in Ethiopia, telling the audience that the country is two years away from national elections and that his party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), has been working hard to compete against other parties.
"My ultimate goal is to ensure that a democratic election takes place in Ethiopia," he said.
Additionally, he told opposition leaders in the diaspora that he had attended the gathering to listen to their recommendations for the future of Ethiopia.
Ahmed was sworn-in as prime minister on April 2, 2018, replacing Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned in mid-February this year.
Inducted into his new office, he met a rapturous welcome as members of parliament clapped and ululated.
Hailing from the country’s Oromia region, where most of the anti-government protests were held over the past two years, the new prime minister is widely seen as a unifying force.
In a speech after his swearing-in, Ahmed vowed to redouble efforts to tackle the lack of good governance in the country, address the problem of unemployment, unify the country and do away with corruption, which he said had been eating away at the country’s resources.