Former Ethiopian foreign minister returns home as reconciliation deepens

ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) — Former Ethiopian foreign minister Goshu Wolde returned to Ethiopia on Monday, ending 32 years in exile, as reconciliation initiated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed deepens.

Wolde was greeted at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport by Ethiopian Deputy Foreign Minister Hirut Zemene and other senior government officials.

Speaking to reporters on arrival, Wolde said he returned from exile to support the ongoing reconciliation process in Ethiopia.

“I don’t have a personal desire for political office, but want to support the peace, love and unity efforts of the current Ethiopian government,” he said.

Wolde was appointed Ethiopian foreign minister in 1983, but fell out with the government of Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1986 and went to exile in the U.S. the same year, accusing Haile Mariam of cruelty and economic mismanagement.

Wolde continued his opposition, even after Haile Mariam was overthrown by a coalition of rebel groups, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), in May 1991.

However, Wolde has kept a low profile for the last two decades, only breaking his silence in June by making a statement from the U.S. in support of the reforms undertaken by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Ahmed, who took office on April 2, has been calling all opposition groups, government critics and others in exile to be part of the country’s ongoing reform process.

His administration has also been implementing measures aimed at creating a nationwide reconciliation, including the release of high-level political prisoners, invitation for Ethiopian rebel groups for talks, as well as the decision to normalize relations with neighboring Eritrea.

Various popular Ethiopian rebel groups such as the Patriotic Ginbot 7, Oromo Liberation Front, and the Ogaden National Liberation Front have since declared ceasefire with the government, and their leaders returned from exile over the past couple of months.



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