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Executive Summary for August 13th

We review the latest peace and security issues, including Ethiopia reaching an agreement with Oromo rebels, Colombia’s president vowing to correct the country’s peace deal and reports that the U.S. is faltering on a planned Israel-Palestine peace agreement.

Published on Aug. 13, 2018 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Ethiopia Strikes Reconciliation Agreement with Oromo Rebels

Ethiopia’s government agreed to end hostilities with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) on Tuesday, one month after parliament dropped the group from a list of banned terrorist organizations, Reuters reported.

Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed signed a reconciliation agreement with the OLF leader Dawud Ibsa in the capital of neighboring Eritrea, where the latter lives in exile.

The deal marks a step toward improving ties between the Ethiopian government and the organization, which has fought for self-determination for the Oromia region – home to Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group.

According to Eritrea’s information minister Yemane Gebremeskel, the agreement states that the “OLF will conduct its political activities in Ethiopia through peaceful means.”

The move comes one month after Ethiopia and Eritrea agreed to restore diplomatic and trade ties for the first time since a border war erupted between the two countries in 1998.

Colombian President Vows to ‘Correct’ Peace Accord

The Colombian president on Tuesday vowed to “make corrections” to the peace accord that ended a decades-long conflict with leftist rebels, the Associated Press reported.

Ivan Duque, a long-time critic of Colombia’s peace agreement, said that he would make corrections to ensure that victims of the half-century conflict between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), will “receive truth, proportional justice, reparations and not a repetition.”

According to the AP, the conflict killed 260,000 people and displaced millions more, while 60,000 others remain missing.

The right-wing president also said he would push for a constitutional reform that would prevent the government from granting amnesty to individuals who have been involved in kidnapping or drug trafficking. The AP described the comment as “another nod to conservatives who have demanded tougher negotiation terms with rebel groups.”

This is not the first time that Duque has promised to change the peace accord. In June this year, he vowed to make “war victims the focal point of the peace process.”

White House Reportedly Struggling on Israel-Palestine Peace Plan

Trump administration plans for a deal to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are foundering amid Arab officials’ concerns that the agreement would be biased in favor of Israel, the Financial Times reported on August 6.

The White House was reportedly planning a peace agreement that would recognize a Palestinian state with a capital based in the Abu Dis suburb of Jerusalem, according to the FT.

Arab officials are concerned that the deal, which reportedly allows for continued Israeli settlement in the West Bank, would be rejected because it would be lopsided in favor of Israel, an unidentified Gulf official told the FT.

In light of mounting Arab concern, the U.S. has reportedly shifted its focus away from delivering an “ultimate deal” and toward a narrower goal of “creating an environment where any proposals would at least be entertained by Palestinian and Arab leaders,” the FT said, citing an unidentified U.S. diplomat.

However, officials in the Trump administration continue to claim that plans to deliver an Israel-Palestinian peace plan are on track.

“We’re certainly not foundering; if anything we’re actually staffing up for an eventual launch. We are strategizing on the rollout of the plan to give it the best chance of success,” an unidentified senior Trump administration official told the FT. “We are close to finishing the political part of the plan; we’re still heavily working on the economic part.”

However, the official did not say when such a deal would be presented.

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