Ethiopia’s government is in peace talks with the Ogaden National Liberation Front, an outlawed ethnic-Somali rebel group, Communications Minister Bereket Simon said.
“It’s a very positive step and we will pursue negotiations up to the last and try to bring all concerned in that area to the constitutional framework,” Bereket said in a phone interview from the capital, Addis Ababa, today.
Principles to end the 28-year conflict in the Ogaden area of Ethiopia’s Somali regional state were agreed during initial talks on Sept. 6 and Sept. 7 in Nairobi, the rebel group said in an e-mailed statement today.
The Ogaden National Liberation Front has fought a low-level insurgency in the area with natural gas reserves of 4 trillion cubic feet since 1984, seeking greater autonomy. In April 2007, the group attacked a site operated by China’s Zhongyuan Petroleum Exploration Bureau, killing nine Chinese workers and 65 Ethiopians.