News: Senior gov’t officials join military leaders in Dar es Salaam as ongoing talks with OLA progress positively

Ministers Redwan Hussein, and Gedion Timothewos (PhD) have joined the talks since Sunday (Photo: Addis Walta)

Addis Abeba – Ongoing negotiations between the Ethiopian government and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) in Dar es salaam are showing “positive progress” sources close to the mediation team revealed to Addis Standard.

Redwan Hussein, national security adviser to prime minister Abiy Ahmed, and Gedion Timothewos (PhD), minister of Justice, are said to have joined the talks yesterday from the government side. The sources described this as “a noteworthy expression of confidence in both the negotiations and the mediation team”. Addis Standard reported, last week quoting diplomatic sources, that senior government officials are “expected to join if the talks progress to a signing of an agreement”.

Following days of engagement, both parties have now transitioned to addressing the substantive issues under consideration, according to the latest information obtained by Addis Standard

The talks which started on Tuesday last week, in the Tanzanian capital, with top military leaders from both sides on board, were preceded by series of meetings over the previous weeks. The “positive outcome” of these meetings helped progress to the talks between senior military officials of the two sides.

A US delegation led by Ambassador Mike Hammer, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, and senior diplomats representing Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), as well as the governments of Kenya and Norway are facilitating the talks.

Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, the head of IGAD, who hails from the Oromia region of Ethiopia, where the conflict between the two sides is taking place, is reported to be actively facilitating the talks, according to Addis Standard’s sources.

Nuur Mohamud Sheekh, the Spokesperson for Dr Workneh, however could not confirm the presence of the IGAD chief at the talks, but said “the Executive Secretary of IGAD reiterates his steadfast commitment to providing support wherever needed to help overcome challenges in all member states”. IGAD hopes that the ongoing talks and mediation efforts result in sustainable solutions, Nuur said.

In May this year, representatives of the two sides met for the first time and held a week-long discussion in Zanzibar, Tanzania, aimed at reaching a settlement to end the near five-year militarized conflict in the Oromia regional state. Although both sides acknowledged positive progress, the dialogue ended without an agreement. AS

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