Ethiopian government set for peace talks with OLA rebels in Tanzania: PM

The Ethiopian government is set for peace talks with Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) rebels in the east African country of Tanzania, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed disclosed on Sunday.

Speaking in Addis Ababa at a ceremony honoring a previous peace deal between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) signed on November 2020, Ahmed said the peace talks with the OLA will start on Tuesday. 

Abiy’s latest statement is a notable departure from all his previous statements accusing OLA of being disunited and lacking in purpose. Ethiopian officials including PM Abiy had also previously vowed to find a military solution to the conflict with the OLA.

PM Abiy further called for the hardship being endured by people living in conflict affected parts of western Oromia to end. 

Several hours later, the Oromo Liberation Army issued a communique confirming its participation in upcoming peace talks with the involvement of “independent third party mediator,”. The OLA statement didn’t mention the identity of the third party mediator.  

In perhaps a sign of complications ahead of the upcoming peace talks, OLA described the government’s terminology of the rebel group as “Shene”, a disinformation and called for the government to cease using that label.

The OLA which is listed as a terrorist group by the Ethiopian government has been accused multiple times of gross atrocities on civilians in Ethiopia’s largest region, Oromia. OLA denies the charges.

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