Addis Abeba – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said “unnecessary conflicts” are killing people, destroying properties in different parts of the country including Oromia and Amhara regions. These conflicts “delay us from our journey,” the PM said.
He responded to several questions on varying topics including peace and security, the rising cost of living and corruption, etc. raised from lawmakers at the ongoing 3rd year 4th regular session of the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR).
“Our desire has always been peace. Until today, over the past five years, there has been no war that took place with our desire, that we planned. This is true. There is no war, no conflict that we planned and started,” the PM asserted, adding that the government has rather been defending itself from those who have been trying to overthrow it using force.
He emphasised how it is impossible for an armed group to overthrow an incumbent government using force given the power imbalance, and called on armed groups to choose peace and negotiation as a means to achieve political goals. “For our brothers who carry arms and are in the bushes in different areas, please don’t belittle peace,” he pleaded.
Furthermore, there is nothing that prevents those in armed struggle to pursue peaceful means, he conveyed. “If OFC can operate peacefully in the Oromia region, why can’t Shane? If NaMA can struggle peacefully in the Amhara region, why not others?” he asked.
“It is good to lay down arms and pick up ideas,” the prime minister stressed.
His remarks came amidst ongoing talks with Oromo Liberation Army ( OLA) to end the conflict that ravaged the Oromia region for the past five years causing massive destruction and loss of civilian life.
On Monday, Addis Standard reported that the talks have shown “positive progress” following days of engagement, and both parties have now transitioned to addressing the substantive issues under consideration, according to the sources close to the mediation team.
In the Amhara region, the state of emergency declared in August has achieved relative stability in the region and prevented the collapse of regional order, the premier said. He however, admitted that lasting peace is yet to be achieved. “It averted the risk but more work is needed to bring lasting peace,” he said. AS