Abiy Ahmed’s recent statements in parliament do not accurately represent the situation regarding peace talks. The so-called attempts at contacting the OLA that he mentioned were not sincere efforts to engage with OLA leadership. Rather, the regime deployed several local mediation committees to persuade individual OLA officers to surrender, which ultimately resulted in failure. This approach is similar to the regime’s unsuccessful 2019 attempt to dismantle the OLA using prominent local figures. Such actions cannot be seen as genuine attempts at peace negotiations; instead, they represent a destabilizing campaign that puts the prospects for peace at risk. Moreover, the regime should not be attempting to develop a new propaganda narrative suggesting that the OLA is too decentralized to negotiate with. The OLA’s leadership is the High Command, which the regime is well aware of.
We want to reiterate our ongoing commitment to dialogue and our insistence on the need for international third-party mediation to guarantee the success of any potential peace agreement. Setting aside Abiy Ahmed’s ill-timed and misleading claims, there are positive signs that peace talks, with appropriate neutral international third-party mediation, will take place. We remain dedicated to finding a peaceful solution to the conflict and call on the regime to avoid jeopardizing the path to peace.
Victory to the Oromo and All Oppressed Peoples!
OLF-OLA High Command
March 28th, 2023