Oduu Haaraya

Ethiopia opens talks with exiled Oromo Democratic Front

Ethiopia’s government has opened talks with exiled opposition group, the Oromo Democratic Front (ODF).

“High-level” government officials met with leading ODF members on May 11 and May 12 to discuss reforms being introduced by Ethiopia’s recently-appointed prime minister, Abiy Ahmed. The government hasn’t revealed any details about what was discussed during the meetings but revealed an ODF delegation will travel to Ethiopia “soon for more substantive talks”.

Ethiopia meets with ODF

The ODF was formed in 2013 by a number of defectors from the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front, led by Lencho Letta. Peace talks were expected to take place between ODF officials and Ethiopia’s government in 2015, under previous prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn, but the exiled group said on face-to-face talk were held.

This week’s meeting between government officials and ODF members comes less than a month after Abiy Ahmed was appointed as the country’s new prime minister. Hailemariam Desalegn announced his resignation in February after failing to ease ongoing political unrest in the Oromia and Amhara regions.

Abiy Ahmed is Ethiopia’s first Oromo prime minister and also chairman of the Orom People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO). His appointment has raised hopes of a peaceful resolution to Ethiopia’s political crisis and the ruling party has taken a notably different approach during his biref time as PM – one that focuses on dialogue ahead of force.

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