Update: US, IGAD, Kenya & Norway key peace talk facilitators; OLA southern command chief arrives in Dar es Salaam

General Getachew Gudina, Head of Military Intelligence, ENDF (Left), Kumsa Diriba, a.k.a. Jaal Marroo, OLA Commander (Middle), Gemechu Regassa a.k.a Gemechu Aboye, Commander, OLA’s Southern Command (Right) (Photo: ENA, Arraata Biyyoolessa Oromiyaa, BBC)

Addis Abeba – Diplomatic sources close to the matter told Addis Standard that the ongoing talks between the Ethiopian federal government and representatives of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) is happening at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Similar sources also confirmed that OLA’s Southern Command Chief Gemechu Regassa a.k.a Jaal Gemechu Aboye and his deputy, were flown via Kenya from their bases in Borana, southern Oromia, to the meeting venue this morning. Jaal Gemechu is also Jaal Marroo’s deputy in the command chain of the group.

The talks involve the active support from external mediators and facilitators, most notably the U.S through a 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.

The federal government is represented by General Getachew Gudina, Head of Military Intelligence of the federal defense forces, and Major General Demis Amenu, his deputy, who was part of the first round talks held in May this year in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

The OLA is represented by a total eight participants: four from OLA Western and Central Command led by OLA Commander Kumsa Diriba, a.k.a. Jaal Marroo; two from OLA Southern Command led by Gemmechu Regassa, as well as Ejerso Urgessa, and Jiregna Gudetta two representatives who were part of the first round talks.

The ongoing talks were preceded by series of meetings over the past weeks between the federal and Oromia regional state government senior officials on the one hand, and two members representing the OLA who were engaged in renewed “political dialogue.” A source told Addis Standard that the “positive outcome” of these meetings helped progress to the ongoing talks between senior military officials of the two sides.

The officials who participated in the “political dialogue” preceding the ongoing talks are “expected to join if the talks progress to a signing of an agreement,” the diplomatic sources who wanted to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to give a statement, told Addis Standard without revealing the names involved. AS

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