18 October 2012

Ethiopia: Africa - ONLF and Ethiopian Peace Talks Reach Deadlock

Photo: Gijs vant Klooster/FAO
A high rate of livestock deaths is reported in the Ogaden region due to drought and other factors.

Nairobi, Kenya — Peace talks being mediated by the Kenyan government between the ONLF and the Ethiopian government stalled on Thursday, Garowe Online reports.

The second round of peace talks were held on Tuesday and Wednesday in Nairobi between the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and the Ethiopian government and according to ONLF officials were not successful.

According to ONLF's Foreign Bureau Secretary Abdirahman Mahdi the discussions were stonewalled after Ethiopia demanded the ONLF to recognize the Ethiopian constitution.

Mr. Mahdi stated that during the initial round of talks both sides agreed to no preconditions to capacitate a good environment.

"Recognizing the Ethiopia constitution has become a prerequisite for the peace talks to continue, after both sides agreed to no preconditions," said Mr. Mahdi.

"We have been battling the Ethiopian sine '84 and the Ethiopian constitution was adopted in '94. So we should not be forced to recognize their constitution," continued Mr. Mahdi.

ONLF established in 1984 has been battling Ethiopia for the contested region of Ogaden a mainly Somali populated region. Regarding the Ethiopian government as an occupying force the ONLF has launched attacks on Ethiopian forces.

However a faction of the ONLF and the Ethiopian government signed a peace deal in October 2010.

The Kenya brokered peace talks began shortly after former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi passed.

The Ethiopian delegation was led by Defense Minister Seraj Fegesa and the Kenyan Defense Minister Mohamed Yusuf Haji who mediated the talks.

The Ethiopian government has not yet released a statement on the stalled peace talks but the ONLF stated that they are ready to continue peace talks if the Ethiopian government does insist on the ONLF accepting the Ethiopian constitution.

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