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Abiy’s gesture is widely regarded as a positive move to dispel a quarter-century of enmity between the ruling and opposition parties since the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) took power in the Horn of Africa country.

By Addis Getachew  aa.com

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

In what appeared to be an unprecedented conciliatory move, Ethiopia’s new prime minister threw a dinner for opposition political figures on Thursday.

Major opposition figures, civic society representatives, and prominent personalities were also invited.

Hosting the occasion, Ahmed Abiy said the contending party leaders and members should begin taking positive stances, according to state broadcaster ETV.

“There should be no more feelings of resentment or anger but positive moves to contribute to the development of democracy in the country,” he said.

Abiy’s gesture is widely regarded as a positive move to dispel a quarter-century of enmity between the ruling and opposition parties since the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) took power in the Horn of Africa country.

Abiy reiterated his party’s desire to work in the spirit of competition with political parties in the country, and not enmity.

According to ETV, the new premier pledged to provide a level playing field for all parties in the country for healthy political competition.

He pledged his government’s readiness to work to enhance multi-party politics in the nation, the second-most populous country in Africa with more than 100 million people.

Abiy replaced Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned this February.

Since taking office a fortnight ago, Abiy has been traveling areas that had been epicenters of anti-government protests over the past three years in a bid to pacify and unify the much-fractured nation.

Opposition political parties have criticized the ruling party for focusing on ethnic politics, resulting in the fracturing of society along ethnic lines.

Foreign media and a number of local journalists were kept out of the event at the last minute after having been invited.

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