Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has called the peace deal signed between his government and fighters from the northern Tigray region “a positive step” and said his government would also sit down with other armed groups.
Mr Abiy was addressing members of parliament on Tuesday in Addis Ababa. During the session, a number of lawmakers raised concerns about growing insecurity in other parts of the country, pervasive corruption and the cost-of-living crisis.
Several efforts have been made in recent months to reach out to the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) - an insurgent group operating in the country’s Oromia region - to make a peaceful resolution, he said.
There has not been any immediate reaction from the OLF regarding the prime minister’s claim.
The two-year civil war in Tigray and neighbouring regions is believed to have claimed more than half a million lives.
Rights violations, some of which, according to the UN, could amount to war crimes have repeatedly been reported.
Mr Abiy said “a lot more” had to be done to achieve total peace in the country’s north. “It takes time to heal” post-conflict scars, he added. “Peace, much like war, needs bravery.”
An opposition lawmaker asked if Mr Abiy would be ready to face accountability for serious crimes committed during conflicts, including ethnic cleansing, and whether he would resign in the footsteps of his predecessor Hailemariam Desalegn in the face of increasing public frustration. The prime minister dismissed the suggestion.
He added that his administration was working on ensuring transitional justice in the wake of brutal conflicts.
In his lengthy address, the prime minister criticised some media outlets - without naming them - which he said were “forces of destruction”.