BY: TESFA-ALEM TEKLE
What you need to know:
- OLA was declared by Addis Ababa as a terrorist entity in May 2021.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that his government will begin peace negotiations with the outlawed rebel group, the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).
The talks aimed to end over half a century-long insurgency of the rebels, will begin today.
This is the first time for the Ethiopian government to officially announce via its Prime Minister that it would negotiate with this banned rebel group.
OLA was declared by Addis Ababa as a terrorist entity in May 2021.
“Peace negotiation with ‘Oneg-Shene’ will start on Tuesday in Tanzania,” Abiy said on Sunday, using the local name for the OLA rebels.
“The people of Ethiopia and the government eagerly need this negotiation,” Abiy added.The Oromo rebel group on their side confirmed reaching an agreement with the federal government to engage in dialogue under an independent and third party meditation.
“The government of Ethiopia has accepted the conditions we have set for negotiations,” OLA said in a statement it issued today.
“This is a crucial and positive step towards establishing a lasting peace in the region,”
Source close to the matter told this publication that that the governments of Kenya and Norway are the actors facilitating the negotiations.
United States and the European Union are also interested in participating in the peace process, the sources added.
The OLA armed group have been fighting the central government since the 1970s, for self-determination of Oromia, the most populous and largest region in the horn of Africa’s nation.
The new agreement for peace talks comes about six months after a peace deal reached between the federal government and forces in the Tigray region, which ended a two-year bloody conflict in the country’s north.
The two-year conflict in the Tigray region has claimed the lives of over 600,000 people and displaced millions more.
Now, as the Tigray peace holds, Mr Abiy, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, seems committed to end the long-running silent conflict in the Oromia region.
Abiy who himself from the Oromia region is the first ever ethnic-Oromo to assume power as the country’s Prime Minister.
(Source: Daily Monitor)