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News: OLA says Oromia region call for reconciliation “welcome news”, issues “key aspects” to be clarified

OLA is led by Kumsa Diriba o.k.a Jaal Marroo. Picture: Screenshot/AS

Addis Abeba – In a statement it released in response to a call on Friday by Shimelis Abdissa, President of Oromia regional state, for reconciliation, 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.” However OLA cautioned that the call “lacks the requisite clarity and nuance to be too optimistic about the overtures of an imminent peace process in Oromia.”

OLA’s statement came a day after President Shimelis made the call for reconciliation while addressing the 6th regular meeting of Caffee Oromia, the regional council,

“In front of this respected Caffee (regional parliament) in the name of our people and with great respect I would like to call on armed groups operating in our region, “OLF-Shane” to come to reconciliation” Shimelis said.

“OLF-Shene” is the common name government officials use to refer to the OLA, a point underscored in the group’s statement as one of the “key aspects that any peace process ought to clarify from the beginning.”

The “call for peace did not address the OLA,” the statement said. “The regional president still refers to a phantom armed group called “OLF-Shane.” Whilst this may not make much difference in substance, it did not help clarify the already multi-layered ambiguities regarding the prospect for peace and how the Ethiopian government wishes to pursue it.”

Other “key aspects” include the group’s call that the peace process with it should be “led by the federal government,” and the involvement of “international actors” as “guarantors for the enforcement of mediation agreements.”

“It was the federal parliament, not the regional council, that proscribed the OLA. It is also the federal army that is leading the military engagement against the OLA on the ground, not the regional forces. Therefore, a peace process with the OLA is legally and operationally beyond the purview of the Oromia regional government,” OLA further said.

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On May 05/2021, the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) designated the “TPLF and Shene” as “terrorist groups” in accordance with Articles 18 and 19 of Proclamation No. 1176/2020 on the Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism Crimes. The Parliament’s decision followed a decision on May 01 by the Council of Ministers which approved the resolution to designate the groups as terrorist organizations. The designation on both is still active, although a peace agreement between the federal government and the TPLF was signed in November last year. AS

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