June 28, 2018 – The Ethiopian government today held a celebratory meeting in Ogaden, whereby it declared that the Gas and Oil production will commence soon. Subsequently the new Ethiopian Prime Minister, in Ethiopian TV that the Ogaden Fossil Fuel production will bring employment and economic boom for Ethiopia, while the Ogaden are still in economic and aid blockade and many languishing in detention centre.
However, what is missing from this picture is the Ogaden people, whose territory is being exploited and whose wealth is planned to be blundered without their consent or participation. Therefore, ONLF will not allow the exploitation of Ogaden Natural Resources without a comprehensive just political settlement of the Ogaden conflict that is acceptable to the Somali people in Ogaden through the exercise of free, genuine self-determination without any preconditions.
The Ogaden has been a conflict zone for almost a century where the Somali people continuously resisted Ethiopia’s forceful occupation of their territory and subsequent marginalization of its people. Ethiopia successive regimes, instead of finding a viable political settlement with the Somali people, opted to use force and deny the rights of self-determination. This led to three major wars since 1963, which involved Ogaden Somali liberation fronts, Somalia and Ethiopia and international actors from the superpowers.
Both Ethiopia and the international community continue to ignore the severity and the complexity of the Ogaden conflict that seriously affects the security and peace of the whole Horn of Africa at their own peril.
The Ogaden National Liberation Front is closely following recent developments in the muddled politics of the Ethiopian regime. The Ethiopian Prime Minter’s pronouncements so far seemed to be moving in a positive direction. However, ONLF believes that such initiative would be meaningful and bring peace only if it could lead to a more fundamental and practical change in the traditional culture of Ethiopian regime politics of tyrannical rule whereby the ruling group usurped the will of the peoples and denied their genuine self-determination through the use of force and unilateral decisions from the centre.
The unilateral Exploitation of Ogaden Fossil fuel without addressing the Ogaden conflict could be counter-productive and could defeat any attempt to find a peaceful settlement in Ogaden.