Ethiopia: Political Reform Inviting Rebel Groups for Peaceful Political Struggle

A unit of the Oromo Liberation Front retreating after weeks of fighting. Oromo militancy was the major reason for the recent change of government in Ethiopia.

ADDIS ABABA-- The unfolding political atmosphere in Ethiopia is attracting various rebel groups, which were labeled 'terrorist groups' to lay down arms and joint the course of peaceful political struggle.

Recently, The Ethiopian delegation led by Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu and Oromia State Chief Lemma Megeresa and Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a rebel group led by Dawde Ibsa have signed a reconciliation agreement to jointly work in the current Ethiopian political scenario.Following fruitful deliberations on certain issues of mutual concern, both sides have reached agreement to work together particularly on issues related to Oromia and Ethiopia as a whole.

The agreement was inked by Oromia Regional State Chief Administrator Lemma Megersa and OLF Chairman Dawd Ibsa.

Recoiling that the two bodies were engaged in serious armed struggle, Dawde Ibsaa said that considering the current Ethiopian political situation, his party has decided to ceasefire and undertake peaceful struggle by operating as a free political entity within the country.

The group declared a unilateral ceasefire last month after Ethiopian parliament removed it from a list of banned terrorist groups that it had been part of since 2008.

The agreement provides for termination of hostilities and the OLF conducts political activities in Ethiopia through peaceful means. A joint committee will be established to implement the agreement, it was learned.

The deal signed in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, on Tuesday appeared to be another step by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to improve security and diplomatic relations, reform institutions and open parts of the state-controlled economy.

Since the 1970s, the rebels have fought a low-level battle for self-determination for the Oromia region.

The OLF was initially part of a transitional government set up in 1991 by rebels from a coalition, which had driven former military ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam from power, but they soon fell out with the coalition.

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