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Ethiopian govt says it is “ready to negotiate with any group with any questions”

Ethiopian News _ Peace _ Conflict
Keyredin Tezera, State Minister for Peace (Photo :PD)

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The Ethiopian government on Tuesday said that it is ready “to negotiate with any group that claims to have any question.”

ENA, state media, attributed the statement to  Keyredin Tezera – State Minister in the Ministry of Peace who replaced Taye Dendea a few months ago after the latter was removed and arrested following a critical remark – many called it a bold statement – against Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. 

A consultation forum is underway that is collaboratively organized by Ethiopia’s Peace Institute and USAID to support efforts to resolve the ongoing conflict in the Amhara region of Ethiopia through peaceful negotiation. 

“The task of building lasting peace requires that all citizens add their responsibility,” the state minister is cited as saying. 

He added that “conflicts happening in Ethiopia are tarnishing the long history of the country and its image. It also harms citizens. therefore the government is ready to negotiate with any group that claims to have any kind of question.” 

Historically, Ethiopia had been known for its strong sense of national identity – something that was ruined over the past three or so decades when the country adopted a constitution for ethnic-based politics and administration.  The legal and administration infrastructure for ethnic-based division and conflict is still in place. The country has been experiencing deadly conflict since Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018, and ethnic politics has a lot to do with many of the conflicts. One of the damages that ethnic politics did was that the past – where there was legal infrastructure for  or interest in ethnic politics – was demonized while  ethnic politics is painted as an expression of “freedom and self-governance.”  Now there are voices, albeit not powerful, that are glorifying Ethiopian history.  

Mulugeta Itefa, Board Chairperson of Ethiopia’s Peace Institute, said, as cited by ENA, “Our Ethiopian forefathers have given us a country whose independence was defended. Now this generation must defend its peace and unity, and ensure its development.” 

After emerging from two years of a devastating war that mainly impacted the Afar, Amhara, and Tigray regions of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed’s government launched an extensive military operation in the Amhara region of Ethiopia by officially declaring a state of emergency in the Amara region with a stated objective to disarm Fano forces. Initially, the campaign was intended for two weeks. But the government was unable to end it after eight months of fledged war. Human Rights Organizations accuse the Ethiopian government of extrajudicial killing hundreds of civilians in the region and drone strikes but the government denies it. 

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