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Lemma Megersa in the United States for a “working visit”


Ethiopian Defense Minister, Lemma Megersa, is participating in US-Ethiopia Bilateral Defense Committee days after he disclosed his opposition to the merger of member parties in the ruling coalition, including his own ethnic party – Ormo Democratic Party (ODP).

Ethiopia’s Defense Minister, Lemma Megersa, has arrived in the United States leading high-level government delegation, state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) reported on Monday.

Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States, Fitsum Arega, has confirmed the news in a Twitter message: 

“Minister of Defence of #Ethiopia Lemma Megerssa & his high level delegation arrived in Washington DC to participate on US-Ethiopia Bilateral Defense Committee. #Ethiopia” 

The purpose of the visit, according to the source, is “to foster defense cooperation between Ethiopia and the United States of America.

The visit was not announced earlier and it is unclear how long the duration of the “working visit” is. 

If the visit is indeed about signing defense agreement and if it happens, it is going to be the second military agreement that Ethiopia signed in less than two weeks time. On November 20, Lemma Megersa has signed a defense cooperation deal with United Arab Emirates.  

News of his visit to the United States came days after Voice of America Amharic service reported that he is breaking rank with his colleague Abiy Ahmed on grounds of political disagreement.

The difference is over the formation of a single merged party out of former coalition members of Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), he told VOA Amharic.

Lemma argues that Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) should remain ODP at least until “Oromo question is addressed” and the merger of the parties is untimely.

Eight member and ally parties of former EPRDF have formally signed an agreement on Sunday announcing the establishment of Prosperity Party (PP) with a vision to strengthen the Federal system and usher Ethiopia into an era of prosperity in ten years time. Read more...

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