A senior delegation of the Oromo Democratic Front (ODF) was dispatched to Finefinne (Addis Ababa) on March 18, 20015 to kick-start stalled peace talks with the Ethiopian government. Regrettably, despite verbal overtures, no face-to-face talks could be held. Hence, our delegates had to return prematurely to Europe on the 22nd of March 2015. After two years of relentless efforts to engage the Ethiopian government from outside, the ODF took the unilateral action of sending a high-level delegation led by its President, Mr. Leenco Lata. The delegation arrived in Addis on 19 March 2015.
The Oromo Democratic Front (ODF) decided from its inception to pursue the path of peaceful political struggle to defend the rights of the Oromo people and secure freedom, democracy, and prosperity for all peoples in Ethiopia. Accordingly, basing itself in the country and establishing itself among its constituents at home, and registering and legalizing it as a political party able to play its part in the country’s democratization has been and continues to be ODF’s highest priority. To this principled end, we have been trying to engage all political actors in Ethiopia including the ruling party and the government. But, despite out best efforts, negotiations with the government to resolve outstanding issues and facilitate our re-entry into the political process could not commence in earnest.
This incident does not mark the end of the road but rather only the start of our efforts to ground our organization among our people in our country. Acutely realizing that the road of peace is long, treacherous, and complicated and paved with innumerable obstacles, we are determined more than ever before to stay the course. Accordingly, we would relentlessly continue with our efforts to engage all political actors in our country, in order to establish a just and genuinely democratic order and a sustainable and equitable development in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is once again at a crossroads. Preventing a relapse and moving the country along the road of peace, democracy, and sustainable development requires political will, especially on the part of the ruling party. Reaffirming our unwavering commitment for peaceful and democratic transformation, we therefore call upon all actors, the ruling party in particular, and its supporters in the international community to respond to our efforts positively and support the just demands of our peoples to live in freedom and dignity in their country.
Freedom and Justice for All!
The Executive Committee
Oromo Democratic Front (ODF)
March 22, 2015
Here is a PDF format of the Statement.