Resolve Ogaden Coalition is pleased to learn that negotiators representing the Ogaden National Liberation Front and the Ethiopian government have both committed to reconvene for Kenyan-brokered talks intended to end one of East Africa’s longest running wars.
Previous talks between the two parties have failed due to unacceptable preconditions set by the Ethiopian government. Preconditions are inimical to a peace process. Therefore, In order to continue the dialogue and peace process, the Ethiopian government must show flexibility during this second round of negotiations. It must refrain from imposing preconditions that might jeopardize good faith efforts to reach a just and comprehensive agreement based on the right to self-determination for Ogaden people.
The Ogaden conflict is colonial in nature, and the grievances of the Somali people of the Ogaden are very real. The atrocities and crimes against humanity waged against the civilian population by successive Ethiopian regimes have adversely impacted the region, leaving it economically, socially, and politically marginalized and underdeveloped.
The mechanism needed to address the fundamental issue is an internationally monitored referendum similar to agreements in Eritrea and South Sudan. “Greater regional autonomy,” as suggested by some political observers, is not a solution to the conflict; the people of the Ogaden must be given a genuine opportunity to determine their own destiny. Furthermore, it is imperative that local agencies such as the AU and the greater international community support and back these latest efforts.
Resolve Ogaden Coalition applauds the efforts and persistence of the ONLF in trying to achieve a peaceful resolution to the Ogaden conflict and encourages the Front to continue the peace process. We likewise applaud the Kenyan government’s efforts and its leadership on this delicate process. Resolve Ogaden Coalition urges the Kenyan government to exert pressure on both parties to reach a durable and sustainable solution.