Washington DC, (Aigaforum)-The US Senate held a hearing today, February 2, 2010 to examine Ambassador Donald E Booth who is Ambassador Nominee of the U.S.A to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
During the Hearing Senator Russell Feingold, Chair of the Africa Sub-Committee asked whether the upcoming election will be fair and free when some of the parties in the country were not part of the process of formulating the electoral code of conduct and their leader arrested. Ambassador Booth said that the U.S. and Ethiopia have a long-standing relationship and he will work to strengthen that. As to the preparation to the upcoming election he was aware that more than sixty parties were involved in the process and if confirmed as an Ambassador he will try his best to bring the remaining parties on board and consolidate the already encouraging process.
As to prisoners he said that he was aware that all of the people in prison in the aftermath of the 2005 election were released and will work with the government to sort out remaining issues.
Senator James Inhofe on his part decried some of the extravagant criticisms of Senator Feingold and categorically stated that he opposed the assertions of the Senator with regards to the current political situation in the country. He said that Ethiopia is in a difficult and tough neighborhood and has been a very close friend of the USA and stated that Ethiopia has undertaken a lot of political reforms since the 2005 elections and witnessed an exemplary economic and social development.
Senator John H. Isakson on his part stated that Ethiopia is a critical country in a troubled region and asked the Ambassador what plans he has to assist Ethiopia in the spheres of food security and Health Services especially in the areas of HIV AIDS. The Ambassador reaffirmed his government’s commitment to further strengthen US support to combating HIV AIDS in Ethiopia and help the impressive socio economic development witnessed in the country in recent years.