News: National Dialogue Commission reaffirms commitment to inclusiveness, welcomes discussions with Orthodox Church

Chief Commissioner Mesfin Araya (Photo: Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission)

Addis Abeba – The Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission has issued a formal statement announcing its openness to engaging in discussions with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC).

This follows concerns raised by the EOTC’s Holy Synod regarding its involvement in the current national dialogue process.

The Commission’s statement, released on 07 June, 2024, emphasized its commitment to inclusiveness, stating that this principle applies equally to all religious institutions.

In its statement issued yesterday, the Holy Synod noted that the Commission had proceeded with its efforts, including the selection of participants and setting of the agenda, without formally inviting the Church to participate.

The Holy Synod acknowledged the Commission’s purpose, as outlined in its founding proclamation, to involve stakeholders in addressing national issues through dialogue. However, they stressed the importance of formally engaging with the Commission to secure the church’s right to participate and contribute its priorities to the agenda.

The Holy Synod further announced the establishment of a committee dedicated to pursuing a formal role for the church within the Commission’s proceedings.

In its response, the Commission highlighted its cooperation with the Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia.

The Commission noted that a memorandum of understanding was signed with the council at the outset of its work and that religious leaders from the EOTC’s dioceses have been assigned to contribute to the effectiveness of the participation process in regions and city administrations across the country.

The Commission also acknowledged the Church’s contributions through prayers and blessings offered at various programs held in districts, zones, and regions since the Commission’s introduction to the Ethiopian people.

Adding to the EOTC concerns, calls have been made for the inclusion of additional key stakeholders in the dialogue process. Notably, this includes armed groups currently engaged in conflict with the government.

Earlier this week, the Commission concluded a week-long consultation process in Addis Abeba, which aimed to gather proposed agendas from a diverse range of groups across the capital’s 119 districts.

During the agenda-setting consultation phase held in Addis Abeba, a total of 616 participants were involved. These participants included representatives from various segments of society (121), institutions and associations (228), political parties (68: 52 party representatives and 16 political parties), government bodies (128), and 100 influential individuals.

The discussions were facilitated by 11 moderators. AS

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