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Addis Abeba, Oct. 22/2018 -Ethiopian government delegation led by Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu have signed a peace deal with the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) delegation led by Admiral Mohamed Omar Osman in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, yesterday October 21.

According to a statement from ONLF, “the two sides have reached a historical agreement regarding the political rights of the people from Somali Regional State and genuinely addressing the root causes of the conflict between ONLF and the Ethiopian government.”

The peace deal, the discussion of which was also attended by Ahmed Shide, Finance Minister and Chairman of the Somali People’s Democratic Party (SPDP), Mustafa Muhumed Omer, deputy president of the Somali regional state, Redwan Hussein, Ethiopia’s ambassador to Eritrea, as well as senior officials from ONLF, including secretary general Abdirahman Mahdi and foreign secretary Ahmed Yassin, also saw the establishment of “a joint committee to further discuss substantive issues pertaining to the root causes of the conflict in the [Somali] region through continuous engagement inside the country,” according to a one page statement released following the discussions.

Yesterday’s peace deal follows initial modalities of peace talks that began on September 18 in Asmara during which both “parties have reached a common understanding on the issues discussed and way forward. They agreed to work together peacefully to protect the interests of the people of the Somali Region and collaborate on national issues including the future of Horn of Africa integration.”

In addition to establishing a joint committee, both parties have agreed to “end hostilities toward each other” and for ONLF to “pursue its political objectives through peaceful means, with the assurance that the FDRE will respect and uphold the provisions of its constitution,” the statement added.

The ONLF is one of the oldest separatist rebel groups established in 1984.  The group has been on Ethiopia’s terror list until recently when the Ethiopian parliament removed its name off of the list.

On August 12/2018, ONLF declared a unilateral ceasefire and some of its members have returned to Ethiopia. However, this is the first formal peace talk between ONLF and the Ethiopian government. AS

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