Organizers say Ethiopia’s Tigre forces are joining other armed and opposition groups in a coalition against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to demand political change after a devastating year-long war.
Signed in Washington on Friday include Tigre forces fighting Ethiopian and allied forces, as well as the Oromo Liberation Army now fighting alongside Tigre forces and seven other groups across the country.
The coalition is building as US Special Envoy Jeffrey Feltman talks with senior government officials in the Ethiopian capital to call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the war that has killed thousands since November 2020. The US said it met with the deputy prime minister and defense and finance ministers on Thursday.
The new United Front of Ethiopian Federal Forces “wants to establish a transitional arrangement in Ethiopia” so that the prime minister can leave as soon as possible, organizer Yohannes Abraha, who is with the Tigre group, told the Associated Press late Thursday. “The next step will, of course, be to start meeting and communicating with countries, diplomats and international actors in Ethiopia and abroad.”
He said the new alliance is both political and military. He said it had no communication with the Ethiopian government.
Oromo Liberation Army spokesman Oda Tarabi confirmed the new alliance. Asked if this meant forcing Abiy out, he replied that it depends on the Ethiopian government and what happens in the coming weeks. “Of course we prefer if there is a peaceful and orderly transition with Abiy removed,” he said.
“The goal is to be as inclusive as possible. We know this change requires all stakeholders,” he said. But for members of the Prime Minister’s Prosperity Party, “there has to be a process. Many members will undergo investigation, possibly being prosecuted” for war-related crimes.
The prime minister’s spokesman, Bilen Siyum, addressed the new coalition on Thursday evening, when he tweeted that “no outsider who rejects the democratic processes initiated by Ethiopia can be up for democratization,” Abiy’s post Pointing to the opening of the political space after the eclipse. 2018 His reforms included welcoming some opposition groups home from exile.
The spokesman said he had no further comment on Friday, and had no information on whether the prime minister would be meeting with the US special envoy.
In response to his tweet, an OLA spokesman said that some of the people who returned to Ethiopia were later jailed or placed under house arrest. “A lot of goodwill has been lost in the last three years,” he said.
Other groups that signed on Friday include the Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front, Agawa Democratic Movement, Benishangul People’s Liberation Movement, Gambela People’s Liberation Army, Global Kimant People’s Right and Justice Movement/Kimant Democratic Party, Sidama National Liberation Front and Somali State Resistance . organizer