#Ethiopia: Ethiopian officials, led by Ahmed Shide, Federal Minister of Communication and leader of the Somali People`s Democratic Party #ONLF, under the leadership of its president, Admiral Mohamed Omar, discussed « the modalities of peace talks in Asmara today, » as @hawelti pic.twitter.com/xVaekd0Swj The Ethiopian Parliament recently removed the ONLF from the list of terrorist organizations in order to open the way for a peace dialogue. The peace agreement is part of Abiy`s efforts to reform Ethiopia, including reconciliation with various opposition groups and peace efforts with Eritrea. Ethiopia`s regional state on Friday signed an agreement to disarm and reintegrate members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) into the security forces and the state civil service. The agreement seen by Reuters calls for the two sides to end hostilities and that the ONLF would « fulfill its political commitments by peaceful means. » For some, the implementation of the peace agreement and the management of the legacy of conflict are rightly frustrating. But peace-building takes time – and what gives me hope for the future of this peace agreement and this region is the true passion, pragmatism and commitment of all parties to work together on this path, from war to peace. This is the beginning of a new chapter of peace and stability in Ethiopia, especially in the Somali region, the statement said. Credible and peaceful elections are the litmus test of the peace agreement. This would pave the way for a new government with the legitimacy and confidence to undertake the important institutional and governance reforms needed in the region. An elected government would restore confidence in the local population in its public institutions, which could help the government take action to address the historical remnants of conflict and marginalization. However, the new government will also have to meet the expectations and demands of citizens, as it needs time, resources and goodwill to fulfill its mandate.
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia signed a peace agreement on Sunday with rebels from the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) in its Somali region, which it had previously ostracized as a « terrorist group, » according to authorities. The ONLF conducted a first round of discussions with Ethiopian government officials in September 2018, but the last meeting, on 21 October 2018, sealed an agreement that will allow the group to continue its activities peacefully in the eastern Somali regional state (SRS). Despite the peace agreement and reforms already underway, the Somali regional state still faces major challenges, including the realization of the conflict and support for the rehabilitation and reintegration of victims and veterans. The agreement ends a 34-year insurgency in the Somali region of eastern Ethiopia, also known as Ogaden. The ONLF has been fighting for the rights of ethnic Somalis living in the eastern state since 1984 and proposes secession. As a result of these efforts, the Somali regional state is currently one of the most peaceful states in Ethiopia. On 12 and 2018, the ONLF declared a unilateral ceasefire and some of its members returned to Ethiopia. However, this is the first formal peace dialogue between the ONLF and the Ethiopian government. As beyond the ONLF ex-combatants, there are an urgent need to ensure that civilian victims and survivors of the conflict see the benefits of the peace deal, part to avoid a potential return to poor conflict.