Ethiopia Signs Peace Deal With Rebel Group in Oil-Rich Region.

After over 30 years of conflict, Ethiopia has secured a peace agreement with the separatist ONLF group. The deal opens up a political path for ONLF to push for the rights of ethnic Somalis in eastern Ethiopia.

After being previously dubbed a “terrorist group,” the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) signed a peace deal with Ethiopia’s government, officials announced on Monday.

THE BIG PICTURE: Ethiopia is the fastest-growing economy in Africa, and the current government, which came into office this April, has big plans including the dissolution of state monopolies in aerospace and telecoms. Developing its nascent oil and gas industry is also a priority for the new cabinet, and the peace deal with ONFL is doubtless part of efforts to address this priority. Another part of these efforts is a plan for a natural gas pipeline from landlocked Ogaden to the Red Sea coast of neighboring Djibouti. Exports via this pipeline are slated to start in 2021.

The agreement brings an end to a 34-year insurgency in eastern Ethiopia’s Somali Region State, also known as Ogaden. The ONLF has been fighting for the rights of ethnic Somalis living in the eastern state since 1984, including proposing secession.

“The Ethiopian government and ONLF delegations held productive discussions and reached a historic deal that allows the ONLF to undertake a peaceful political struggle in Ethiopia,” Ethiopia’s foreign ministry said.

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