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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, I’m really grateful to each and every one of you, not just for being here this evening but for what you’re doing every single day, which is working to protect and defend the rights of all of your fellow citizens.  For us, human rights, democracy more broadly, are pretty much the heart of our foreign policy.  And we know that the people who are really doing the work in defending and protecting rights are people like you.  I admire the work you do.  I admire the courage that you show in doing it.

We have been talking a lot, of course, about the very important cessation of hostilities in Tigray, which has produced very significant benefits, but one aspect of that is, of course, the importance of transitional justice and accountability, making sure that the rights of every Ethiopian are protected and the parties (inaudible).  But I was really anxious to hear from you, the work that you’re doing and, as always, how the United States can help.  So with that, I’m really here to listen and learn.  Thank you all for being here.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future