PM Abiy Ahmed addressing parliamentarians on Tuesday, March 28, 2023.

Abiy: Govt Taking Steps to Resolve Conflict, Border Dispute via Dialogue

ADDIS ABABA – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says his administration is committed to resolving differences with rebel groups as well as Ethiopia’s border disputes with Sudan through peaceful mechanisms.

Responding to the parliamentarians’ concerns over peace and instability Tuesday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said, though relative, the peace in Ethiopia has now largely improved in the past eight months.

The PM, while calling for everyone to stand “at the forefront in pursuing peace”, says “there are many initiatives that are in progress to bring about durable peace.”

The PM further notes that the recent peaceful resolution of the conflict in the northern part of the country is “an important step forward”.

“But there is still much to be done to ensure sustainable peace,” the PM told the house of people’s representatives.

According to the PM, the ongoing efforts to open peace talks with armed groups such as OLF Shene is part of the initiative to bring internal conflicts, which have caused numerous destruction for the last couple of years, to an end.

The Executive Committee of the ruling Prosperity Party (PP) has already set up a committee led by its vice president to oversee the peace talks.

While the “government is highly committed to bringing to a peaceful resolution the issue of OLA Shene”, he said “Our security sector is also on guard to ensure that no further bloodshed occurs while pursuing the path of dialogue,” the PM told the parliamentarians.

The border dispute

Prime Minister Abiy also stated that the government is also seeking to find an amicable solution to border disputes with Sudan through dialogue.

The dispute over the border – which was demarcated by Britain, a former colonizer of Sudan, without involving Ethiopia – has been a source of dispute between the two East African countries for more than 70 years.

In 1972, the two nations exchanged notes to renegotiate and re-demarcate the border, while maintaining the status quo, in order to settle the matter amicably.

After eight meetings of a joint committee the two countries set up to try to hammer out a solution, the dialogue stalled following Sudan’s invasion of the Ethiopian side of the disputed territories in November 2020 – days after the conflict in northern Ethiopia broke out.

Ethiopia has since been insisting that Sudan should respect the 1972 agreement and return its army to a position prior to November 6, 2020, in order to resume talks over the border dispute.

Last December, Addis Ababa, and Khartoum reached an agreement to return to the dialogue table to settle their differences through peaceful mechanisms.

Speaking to parliamentarians on Tuesday, PM Abiy stated that the joint committee reinitiated their dialogue in a bid to find a lasting solution.

The diplomatic course is taken as the right one to deal with the problem, Abiy told MPs.

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