Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat hascommended the release of senior opposition political figures detained in Ethiopia.
“The Chairperson welcomes this important gesture of appeasement of the political situation in Ethiopia,” an AU statement read.
The statement came a day after the Ethiopian government on Friday released high-level and senior opposition party members who were in prison over the past years, reports Xinhua news agency.
Among those released include Sibhat Nega, former senior leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a rebel group currently engaged in a deadly conflict with the Ethiopian government.
Nega was detained during the early days of the ongoing conflict that started in November 2020.
According to the chairperson of the pan African bloc, the move will trigger a political process, paving the way for the implementation of a genuinely inclusive national dialogue process for the peaceful and consensual solution to the political and institutional problems facing the federation.
Mahamat further encouraged all the actors to engage in it with courage and determination while assuring them, to this end, of the resolute support of the African Union.
Among the released also include Jawar Mohamed, Eskinder Nega and Bekele Gerba — influential opposition political figures in Ethiopia.
Upon announcing the decision, the Ethiopian government said “the key to lasting unity is dialogue. Ethiopia will make any sacrifices to this end”.
It said Ethiopia’s problems need to be addressed in a comprehensive dialogical approach.
“The government took the initiative to pardon some prisoners for the betterment of the political situation,” the statement from the Ethiopian Government Communications Service read.
It said that a National Dialogue Commission has been set up to deal with contemporary political issues in the country and unresolved discourses in the East African country.