(ONA – Asmara) – The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) convened its third National Congress in the outskirts of the Eritrean capital, Asmara.

The National Congress is a long-waited regular convention of the front and is expected to bring about tangible changes within the national movement as well as the political situation in Ogaden and the Horn of Africa in large,“This Congress was much anticipated.

It has also been delayed multiple times for various reasons including security issues”, says Hassan Moalin, secretary of the Department of Information of the ONLF.

“The Congress began on Sunday, July 1, and is now attended and participated by hundreds of people including central committee members, Ogaden National Liberation Army (ONLA) delegates, women and youth delegates, representatives of civil organizations and distinguished honourary guests.”

The ONLF’s spokesman, Abdikadir Hassan Hirmoge, adds that “foreign dignitaries, governmental and political organizations representatives and academics will attend the closing ceremony of the conference, showing their support and interests in the Ogaden cause for freedom and independence.”

The National Congress is one-week-long and is scheduled to continue throughout the remainder of the week. Furthermore, the Congress is expected to bring solid changes in the organization including structural elements as well as strategic initiatives in the cause the movement champions and vanguards.

The ONLF was founded in 1984 to lead the Somali people’s struggle in Ogaden for emancipation and liberation from Ethiopia. The movement participated in the transitional arrangement in Ethiopia and was elected to power in a free and fair election in 1992 and governed the country until the Ethiopian regime nullified the freely elected regional parliament and attacked ONLF headquarters and offices and started a new round of war in Ogaden.

The ONLF was forced to defend itself and as well as its people in an armed resistance. It has since engaged in peace talks with the Ethiopian government at several instances: 1998, 2012, and 2018. However, so far the Ethiopian regime’s engagement has been nothing but unprincipled and superficial.

The ONLF has stated time and again its willingness to engage in negotiations that are intended to address the root causes of the conflict in Ogaden and is still willing to continue that endeavour. The current National Congress is expected to reinforce that principled position.

ONA/ASMARA.

 

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