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Talks between Ethiopia and the Oromo Liberation Army ends without a deal

The first round of peace talks between the Ethiopian government and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), which began on April 24 in Tanzania, ended without a deal today, according to statements from both parties.

In a statement issued by its communication office, the Ethiopian government deemed the talks “largely constructive” but said “unfortunately, it was not possible to reach an agreement on some issues during this round of talks.”

The OLA on its part said understandings were reached “on some outstanding issues, unfortunately, it was not possible to reach an agreement on key political matters during this round of talks.”

Although not issued jointly, the statements of both parties are similar in not revealing the details of the peace talks or the points of disagreements.

Both parties have, however, acknowledged “the need to continue these talks with a view to resolving the conflict permanently and peacefully,” implying the possibility of subsequent rounds of talks.

The Ethiopian government under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been engaged in armed conflict against the OLA for the last five years, resulting from disagreements over the demands and rights of the Oromo people in Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest and most populous region.

The OLA argues the Oromo people, who make up about 40% of the Ethiopia’s population, have been denied the freedom to exercise their democratic rights and as such are political excluded, economically exploited, and culturally marginalized.

The Ethiopian government designated the OLA as a terrorist organization alongside the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in May 2021. It has since removed the TPLF from its terror list while the designation on the OLA remains.

The week-long peace talk that was just concluded in Tanzania marked the first time since the beginning of the conflict when both parties pledged and took steps to resolve the conflict in Oromia peacefully.