The Stream

Can Abiy Ahmed’s national dialogue end Ethiopia’s war?

On Thursday, February 3 at 19:30 GMT:
The more than year-long war between the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan rebels has resulted in the deaths of thousands of and pushed millions to the brink of starvation.

Battlefield supremacy has ebbed and waned. Calls for an all-inclusive ceasefire have not worked. The warring parties have not spoken. Both sides have demands. But neither side is blinking first.

There are several attempts at mediation underway. The African Union has appointed former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, as special envoy. Kenya has been involved in quiet diplomacy. And the US, a key Ethiopian ally, has called for concessions and a ceasefire.

In January, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed freed several opposition leaders and activists from prison, dropping charges against key leaders. Authorities said the move was meant to “pave the way for a lasting solution to Ethiopia’s problems in a peaceful, non-violent way.”

Their release came as Abiy issued a statement calling for “national reconciliation” and parliament passed legislation to form a commission for national dialogue. That commission, though, is not expected to include the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the government’s main opponents in the conflict, nor its allies from another rebel group, the Oromo Liberation Army.

So how does this end? Are there any prospects for peace? And can civilians caught in the middle get some relief? In this episode of The Stream, we host a roundtable of experts to discuss.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
William Davison, @wdavison10
Senior Analyst, Ethiopia at Crisis Group

Tsedale Lemma, @TsedaleLemma
CEO, JAKENN Publishing PLC, and Founder, Addis Standard

Adem K Abebe, @AdamAbebe
Programme Officer at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA)