October 9, 2005

Oromo: The OLF on a Mission in Brussels

Two members of the central committee of the Oromo Liberation Front have had meetings with officials from the European Commission and Members of the European Parliament in Brussels

Two members of the central committee of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF , Ethiopian opposition in exile), Hassen Hussein and Shigut Geleta have had meetings with officials from the European Commission and Members of the European Parliament in Brussels at the beginning of this week. The purpose of their mission was to obtain EU involvement in the reconciliation process between the OLF and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who has publicly stated that he was ready to enter dialogue with the OLF without pre-conditions. The OLF replied positively to this proposal to dialogue, which somewhat changes the situation of its activists inside the country. The two OLF officials should have been accompanied to Brussels by Lencho Lata, the former deputy president of the OLF. But he was not able to attend, since he had to accompany Dawud Ibsa, the OLF president, to Washington to meet American officials.

The OLF wants to remind Western diplomats through these various missions that it is an element that cannot be ignored in the Ethiopian political equation. Such a reminder is all the more necessary since these diplomats’ interest in Ethiopia was awakened by the breakthrough the other opposition groups made in the Parliamentary elections last May, but in which the OLF did not take part. However, these opposition groups are not at all in favour of a right to auto-determination of the Ethiopian nationalities, which is the leitmotiv of the OLF, particularly as far as the Oromos are concerned.

Source: The Indian Ocean Newsletter