In an interview with the Oromo Language Service of the BBC, Taye Dendea, State Minister in the Ministry of Peace – theoretically one of the most influential government ministries – attributed the failure of the peace talks in Tanzania with the militant ethnic Oromo Nationalist group, known as the “Oromo Liberation Army,” to the Prosperity Party government.
Besides his ministerial portfolio, Taye Dendea holds positions as a member of the central committee of the ruling party and as a member of the regional council in the Oromia region.
Regarding the peace negotiation between the Ethiopian government and the “Oromo Liberation Army,” he recalled, “I remember when I was engaging people in Gebre Gurecha. People had high hopes about it.”
He added, “After the political problem within Oromo politics reached at this level and the decision to resolve their differences through dialogue, it is the government, to which I am a part, that hindered the peace negotiation.”
He vehemently criticized his government. The BBC Amharic report cited him as saying, “…when I expect that we would discuss and resolve it, it is not open for discussion. There interest in addressing issues with political trickery. This is the behavior of my government.”
Another crucial point he made, according to a BBC Amharic report, is that on the second day of the second round of negotiations in Tanzania, the government began spreading propaganda alleging that “we have eliminated Shane [the radical group], we broke its spine. The Defense Force was mobilized from different areas to finish off Shane militarily during the negotiation when it was not possible to achieve that in five years.”
For Taye, the rebel leader demonstrated determination for the negotiation when he decided to take a risk to cross the airspace of a government-controlled area and travel to Tanzania.
The State Minister also addressed the situation in the Oromo region, stating that his government has failed to deliver on its promises, and the situation in the region is unbearable.
He acknowledged the continuous killings in the region and drew a comparison with the war in Gaza, highlighting that the number of casualties in the war from both sides is known, unlike in the Oromia region, where people have been killed over the past five years.
Besides government forces, the group known as “Oromo Liberation Army” (OLA) or OLF-Shane, as referred to by the government, is linked to tens of thousands of civilian killings, primarily of ethnic Amhara.
The second round of negotiations between the Ethiopian government and OLA in Tanzania last month concluded without an agreement. Both parties have traded accusations over the talk’s failure. The third round of negotiation is anticipated, but the timeframe remains unspecified.
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