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News: Gov’t, OLA negotiators “created trust, positive atmosphere for second round talks”: IGAD

From Left: Professor Mohammed Hassen, dr Benti Ujulu, Ejerso Urgessa, Taha Abdi, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, and Jiregna Gudetta.

Addis Abeba – The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, said he is “pleased with the progress made” during the first round of peace talks held between the representatives of the Government of Ethiopia and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

IGAD told Addis Standard this afternoon that Dr Workneh “is pleased with the progress made during the first round of peace talks between the Federal Democratic Government of Ethiopia and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), especially given that the team of negotiators from both sides started negotiating in good faith and have created trust and positive atmosphere for the second round of talks.”

Nuur Mohamud Sheekh, Spokesperson of the IGAD Executive Secretary, said that the regional bloc “appreciates and applauds the efforts made by all parties involved in moving the peace process forward and remain confident that this Ethiopian-led and owned process will be successful and will lead to a lasting peace.”

“The Executive Secretary has assured both sides the use of his “good offices” if and when needed by the parties,” Nuur told Addis Standard.

The week-long talks between the two parties ended on Wednesday in what both described by the Ethiopian government as “largely constructive.”

However, while both the government and OLA hinted at the possibility of meeting again, they said no agreement was reached during the first round of talks.

“While the talks have been largely constructive,unfortunately, it was not possible to reach an agreement on some issues during this round of the talks,” Ambassador Redwan said, adding that “both parties have acknowledged the need to continue these talks with a view to resolving the conflict permanently and peacefully.”

The Government Communication Service said that although the talks were “largely constructive,” it was “not possible” to reach an agreement “on some issues during this round of talks.”

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The OLA on its part said that “understandings were reached on some outstanding issues, unfortunately, it was not possible to reach an agreement on key political matters during this round of talks.”

The talks were facilitated by the governments of Norway and Kenya with a role from IGAD. Addis Standard learned that the U.S. has not played a direct role in this round of talks, but commenting for the first time since the announcement of the talks the U.S. said on Tuesday it welcomed the news “and encourages all parties to negotiate in good faith toward a mutually acceptable resolution.” AS

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