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Former Ethiopian senior official returns home following amnesty call

Sunday July 1, 2018

Kassa Kebede, the foreign policy chief of Ethiopia's former ruling party, returned home on Saturday after close to three decades of exile.

Kebede, one of the top leaders of the Ethiopian Workers' Party (EWP) that ruled the East African country for 17 years, has been in exile for about 27 years since the current ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), came into power.

Kebede and other senior leaders of EWP, including former president Mengistu Hailemariam, have left the country, while a majority of them were sentenced to long-term imprisonment in absentia by an Ethiopian court.

Ethiopia's new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, recently declared an amnesty invitation for exiled Ethiopian politicians, journalists and human right activists to return home.

Kebede, who had also served in different high-level ministerial positions of the previous government, said his return to Ethiopia is due to the ongoing reform and Ahmed's amnesty call.

He also on Saturday met and discussed with Ethiopia's deputy prime minister Demeke Mekonnen.

According to the Office of the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister, Mekonnen, commending Kebede's decision to return home, further called on Ethiopians in exile to follow suit.

The Ethiopian government, following Ahmed's premiership in early April, has been implementing various decisions aimed at creating a nationwide reconciliation, which include the release of high-level political prisoners, invitation for Ethiopian rebel groups for talks as well as the decision to normalize relations with its regional arch-rival Eritrea.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Ademo, a prominent Ethiopian journalist who is also in exile, revealed on Saturday his decisions to return home saying "my exile and longing for home have come to an end. I am glad that it coincided with this defining and pivotal moment of renewal for Ethiopia. I look forward to both the journey and the challenges."


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