By Bileh Jelan @BilehJelan
Addis Abeba, August 07/2021 – Two opposition political parties have called for national dialogue as means to end all current conflicts and address root problems in Ethiopia. The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) issued a statement after a meeting of its executive committee called for dialogue as a way out of the current crisis , while Hibir Ethiopia Democratic Party issued its call for dialogue on Wednesday this week.
The ONLF which held a two days extraordinary session of its executive committee in Addis Ababa between August 04 and 06, 2021, discussed alongside the peace agreement signed with the federal government major challenges facing Ethiopian Somalis from 2018 onwards.
The agendas discussed by the executive committee included: the recurring conflict in the border area between Afar and Somali region, the peace agreement signed with the federal government and the status of human rights in the Somali region before calling for national dialogue.
The statement read, “The ONLF executive committee Calls upon all parties involved in the current conflicts in Ethiopia to an immediate, unconditional ceasefire and accept to resolve the conflict through a mediation. Calls further, that the international community to offer its good offices to mediate between the warring parties in a genuinely neutral and impartial manner that would lead to cessation of hostilities and establish peace.”
The statement further called for, “An inclusive comprehensive dialogue attended by all nations and other stakeholders in order to resolve the perpetual conflicts that kept Ethiopia frozen in a culture of conflict and hegemonic rule. Such a resolution shall usher a new form of modern governance, a new era of peace, genuine democracy, respect of the rights of all nations and citizens Affirm, ONLF principled stance that all nations in Ethiopia have the right to self-determination and strongly devolved genuine self-governance.”
On its part the Hibir Ethiopia Democratic Party earlier this week called for dialogue to be the way out of the current crisis. The statement read, “Coming to the negotiation table does not mean losing, in fact it means winning by saving the country from disintegration,” it continued, “It is unlikely that the military option will bring a peaceful solution to the complex and multi-layered Ethiopia is facing but rather complicate it.”
The statement concluded, “Therefore, our party calls on all parties to work on finding a lasting solution to these complex issues. It is important that the federal government and other rival factions respond to this call and act swiftly; we retriatre that this could be a great opportunity to save the country.”
These calls echo repeated calls by the US to end hostilities and initiate an inclusive national dialogue. Calls that were echoed by the top US humanitarian chief Samantha Power during her visit to Ethiopia. The USAID chief said answering questions about and clarifying US position on the current crisis in the country as well as dismissing claims by top Ethiopian officials of an attempt of a regime change, “The United States stand for values like, there is no military solution to an internal conflict”, [or] “values like, all parties should end hostilities and agree to an immediate ceasefire, and to begin talks about reconciliation and troop and militia withdrawal from neighboring regions.” AS