ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — President Obama twice called the government of Ethiopia “democratically elected” on Monday as he stood by the country’s prime minister, two months after elections that handed every seat in Parliament to the governing party and its allies.
Although human rights groups had called on Mr. Obama to use his visit to press for change, the president took a mild tone in his public remarks. He gently urged the Ethiopian government to make room for opposition, while stressing his respect for the country and its challenges in emerging from a long era of monarchy and autocracy.
“We are very mindful of Ethiopia’s history, the hardships that this country has gone through,” Mr. Obama said at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. “It has been relatively recently in which the Constitution that was formed, and elections put forward a democratically elected government.” He added that “there is still more work to do, and I think the prime minister is the first to acknowledge that there is more work to do.”