"When all voices are being heard, when people know they are being included in the political process, that makes a country more successful," Obama said during a joint news conference with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. Obama's trip marks the first visit by a sitting US President to Ethiopia, a fast-growing economy once defined by poverty and famine.

Later today, Obama was to convene a meeting with African leaders on the crisis in South Sudan. The world's newest nation has been gripped by violence as warring factions in the government fight for power. "The conditions on the ground are getting much, much worse," Obama stated. He said if a peace agreement isn't reached by an August 17 deadline, the US and its partners would have to consider what other tools we have.

Options under consideration include deepening economic sanctions and perhaps pursuing an arms embargo. Obama arrived in Ethiopia late yesterday following a stop in Kenya, the country of his father's birth. The crisis in South Sudan and the human rights challenges on his agenda punctured a trip that had otherwise been a celebratory return of the first black US president to Africa.

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