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US "deeply concerned" by protester deaths in Ethiopia

WASHINGTON, Dec 18 (KUNA) -- The US expressed deep concern on Friday over the recent clashes in the Oromia region of Ethiopia that have resulted in the deaths of numerous peaceful protestors, State Department Spokesperson Mark Toner said in a statement.
"We urge the government of Ethiopia to permit peaceful protest and commit to a constructive dialogue to address legitimate grievances," said Toner. "We also urge those protesting to refrain from violence and to be open to dialogue." Protesters have been labeled "terrorists" by Ethiopian authorities to suppress protests against potential land seizures, indicated Amnesty International, a human rights organization.
Toner argued, "The government of Ethiopia has stated publicly that the disputed development plans will not be implemented without further public consultation. We support the government of Ethiopia's stated commitment to those consultations and urge it to convene stakeholders to engage in dialogue as soon as possible". (end) ak.hb