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Published On: Sun, Feb 11th, 2018

Kenya: Peace talks between Ethiopia and Ogaden rebels opens in Nairobi

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By Ahmed Abdi


Peace talks between the Ethiopian government and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) restarted Sunday in Nairobi to end a half-century Ogaden war, Kenyan officials said.
Late last year, An unofficial meeting between the Ethiopian government and Ogaden officials occurred in the United Arab Emirates to pave the way for a second-round meeting.
The first direct meeting between the government of Ethiopia and ONLF ended nearly as soon as they started in 2012.
Kenya’s Garissa County Governor, Ambassador Ali Bunow Korane, said some progress was made after nearly six years of pushing the ONLF and Ethiopia back to the table.
“Attended the reopening of the Ethiopian peace process between the Ethiopian government and the Ogaden National Liberation Front ( ONLF),” said Governor Korane. “The talks which I have coordinated for the last six years have reached a crucial stage.”
“We have engaged in peace talks with the Ethiopian government in Nairobi and we have big plans,” ONLF spokesman Abdulkadir Sheikh Hassan Hirmoge (Adani) said Sunday.
Neither Ethiopia nor Somali Regional State (SRS) has commented on their second official meeting with ONLF in Nairobi.
The Ethiopian delegation led by colonel Gebre Egziabher Alemseged, known as General Gabre, who is the former acting head of the Office of the Facilitator for Somalia Peace and National reconciliation and Abdi Mohamoud Omar, president of the Ogaden regional state.
The four-member ONLF delegation from military and political wings included Abdirahman Mahdi, ONLF’s chief negotiator, Sulub Abdi Ahmed Ogaden National Liberation Army Commander, Ahmed Yasin Dirane, ONLF Committee Chairman, and Ibado Hirsi Mahad, head of the group’s finances.
Deadly clashes between ONLF and Liyu Police occurred in Degahbur and Nogob provinces last week.
When TPLF took over the central government in 1991 it formed Federalism and new charter in which the people in the Somali territory applied to article 39 of the Ethiopian Constitution, which defines the right of ethnocultural communities to self-determination, including the right to establish a regional state or independent state.
In 1994, Ogaden Parliament held their first vote for independence, where 84% of voters said they wanted ‘Ogadenia’ to be an independent state. Since then, Ogaden relations with the TPLF-EPRDF soured.
Ogaden was part of Greater Somalia until the British annexed to Ethiopia on November 29, 1954. Since then the people of the Somali territory waged an armed struggle against its occupation.
ONLF has been fighting to help Ogadenia become a sovereign nation since 1984 and waged a long, bloody war against Ethiopia’s military and security forces.
The government failed to crush Ogaden rebellion militarily since 1994 and relied on harsh policies pursued by Ethiopia’s military several attempts to end the Ogaden conflict politically provided fruitless.


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