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News: Lawmakers from Oromia urge AU to “intervene and negotiate” to end conflict in Oromia, repeat call for warring parties

Headquarters of the African Union in Addis Abeba. Photo: AU

Addis Abeba – Ethiopian members of the national parliament who are elected from Oromia regional state, sent a letter to the African Union suggesting the continental body to “intervene and negotiate to reach an agreement” to resolve the war in Oromia that has been going on for almost five years between the Oromo Liberation Army and the Ethiopian government.

In a letter addressed to the AU, a copy of which is seen by Addis Standard, the MPs said they would like to see a peaceful resolution between the warring parties.

The letter made a reference to a call made in February by president of the Oromia regional state Shimelis Abdissa made for reconciliation with the OLA while addressing the 6th regular meeting of Caffee Oromia, the regional council. In response the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), said that any call for peaceful resolution of the ongoing war in Oromia “through civilized discourse” is “a welcome news”, but cautioned that the call “lacks the requisite clarity and nuance to be too optimistic about the overtures of an imminent peace process in Oromia”.

Expressing their happiness over the AU brokered cessation of hostilities between the federal government and the TPLF, the lawmakers said they are “deeply saddened that [the] African Union underestimated the fighting that has claimed many lives in Oromia region of Ethiopia for more than four years.”

In a similar call addressed to the office of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) and the Ruling Prosperity Party, the lawmakers made the call for peace end of the conflict and stated that “the government should get out of political conspiracy and of the agenda of destroying the armed forces operating in Oromia” and instead commit to negotiated peaceful resolution of the conflict.

In addition, the MPs asked the government to “prepare itself for a true and fairly formulated peace agreement” as the war in Oromia is causing multilayered destruction, noting that the instability, turmoil, and violence in Oromia are endangering human lives, causing economic and social problems in the region and beyond. 

“If this situation of civil war in Oromia is not resolved, we are concerned that the number of armed forces operating in Oromia will increase further and the problems we have experienced in the past four years may continue”, the MPs warned, adding that, “If the problem is not resolved timely, it’s repercussions will increase, and solving it will be difficult.

The MPs also extended their call to the Oromo liberation Army (OLA) to “negotiate with the Ethiopian government and solve the problem through dialogue” and for he rebel group to be “flexible”; they added that that in “political negotiations everything can’t be gained and everything will not be lost”.

“Your questions will be answered in the short, medium and long term, as the political situation changes. Some of your demands will not be answered overnight; they will get answers through a gradual process” the MPs plead the OLA.

Appreciating the African Union’s role in ending and mediating the war and ensuing security crisis in northern Ethiopia, the lawmakers from the Oromia regional state raised their concern that the AU “underestimated the fighting that has claimed many lives in Oromia for more than four years.” 

They asked the “African Union to intervene and mediate the warring parties to reach an agreement” emphasizing the necessity of a peaceful resolution to the war in the Oromia region.

The MPs latest call for the peaceful resolution of the war in Oromia came in the backdrop of U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s remarks where he “expressed concerns about the situation in Oromia and the need for a resolution through dialogue,” subsequent to meeting with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in his first visit to Ethiopia last week.

On 05 December 2022, the same MPs, after discussing the security circumstances in the Oromia region drafted a letter urging the government to mediate and reach a peace agreement with the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), in the same way it did with Tigrayan forces, and sent it to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and concerned bodies, calling for an end to conflict in the region. AS

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