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National Dialogue Commission invites armed groups to negotiations, assures ‘security guarantees’

Professor Mesfin Araya, Commissioner of National Dialogue Commission (Photo: FBC)

Addis Abeba – The National Dialogue Commission of Ethiopia has extended an invitation to armed groups to engage in the nation’s dialogue process, offering “assurances of security” for participants who choose to join.

Addressing community representatives from the Oromia region gathered in Shashemene city, Commissioner Professor Mesfin Araya urged armed entities to seize the opportunity for dialogue.

“We humbly request those involved in armed movements to join the negotiations promptly,” he stated, citing the commission’s outreach that indicated a public desire for peace.

Deputy Commissioner Hirut Gebreslase reinforced the commitment to ensuring a secure environment for armed parties that choose to take part in the national dialogue process.

“This is an opportunity that should be utilized by all segments of society, particularly those engaged in armed struggles, who should come forward and articulate their perspectives. The commission will facilitate a safe space for their participation,” she affirmed.

The commission has been holding consultative meetings across various regions of Ethiopia, including recently convening representatives from the Oromia region in Shashemene city. Similar consultations are planned for the Amhara and Tigray regions once conditions allow.

While appealing for inclusive dialogue, the commission acknowledges challenges in areas facing security issues and the need to identify and enable the participation of stakeholders from conflict-affected zones.

Despite the Commission’s call, armed groups have not officially confirmed their involvement in the national consultation process to date.

Additionally, opposition parties, including the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), have opted out of the process, expressing criticism over its approach.

In a recent interview with Addis Standard, Sultan Kasim, an OFC executive committee member, expressed criticism, stating that a co-opted national dialogue will not address fundamental political problems. AS

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