Obama arrives in Addis Ababa

US president flies to Addis Ababa after Nairobi visit

President Barack Obama has made history by becoming the first US president to visit Ethiopia, where he is holding talks with the country's president Mulatu Teshome and prime minster Hailemariam Desalegn on 27 July, as well as addressing the leadership of the African Union (AU), which is based in Addis Ababa, on 28 July.

Obama arrived at Bole International airport in Addis Ababa on the evening of 26 July, following his four-day visit to Nairobi.

Obama will also have bilateral meetings with high-profile government figures from Hailemariam's ruling Ethiopia People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) which recently celebrated a landslide victory, which oppostion parties claim was marred by intimidation and vote rigging.

During the visit Obama is expected to urge regional leaders to end the ongoing conflict in South Sudan Obama when he meets envoys of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the regional bloc whose mandate includes mediating peace negotiations between the two warring factions in South Sudan.

Ahead of the US leader's visit Ethiopia released five bloggers and journalists imprisoned for over a year after government prosecutors dropped charges against them of attempting to sabotage the state. Many reporters remain in jail and human rights groups have questioned the timing of Obama's visit, given Ethiopia's suppression of freedom of press.

In addition to focusing on issues such as political accountability, security and press freedom in Ethiopia, Obama has been accompanied by a US business delegation to encourage more trade and investment between both countries.

This is Obama's fourth visit to the African continent since becoming US president. He leaves Addis Ababa on 28 July.

Ethiopia is in the forefront in the battle against the radical Islamist militants al-Shabaab, against people trafficking and is an important security partner to the US in a volatile but strategic region.