Prime Minister Lij (Sir) Michael Imru urged twenty-three parliamentary deputies from the northern province of Eritrea to reconsider their resignations from the Ethiopian parliament.
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Background: Prime Minister Lij (Sir) Michael Imru urged twenty-three parliamentary deputies from the northern province of Eritrea to reconsider their resignations from the Ethiopian parliament. In a speech to the Lower House of Parliament on Tuesday (August 20), Mr. Imru asked the 23 deputies to rejoin parliament saying that his government is determined to bring peace to the strife-torn province. Eritrea's parliamentarians were not in the House at the time of the speech.
They submitted their resignation two weeks ago when they accused the Central Government of taking no interest in the affairs of the province since the beginning of the Armed Forces Movement nearly six months ago. In a letter of resignation, the deputies accused government forces of massacring civilians and destroying property. They claimed that the government does not seem interested in bringing peace to Eritrea which has been the scene of intermittent fighting for the last twelve years between government troops and the Eritrea Liberation Front. There has been a resurgence of guerrilla activity in the last six months.
The letter of resignation stated that successive governments have done nothing to alleviate suffering in the Province, which has experienced a lengthy drought and food shortages.
Further the 23 former deputies complained that a recent general amnesty was not applied to some two hundred political prisoners being held in Eritrea. But the Lower House was informed that the prisoners would remain in detention because of their 'cause of susception'.
However, Mr. Imru did pledge to give the Eritrea situation top priority. He called for dialogue and negotiation rather than force and blackmail to solve the problems provoking separatism. And the Chamber voted to set up a special committee to study all decisions made by the Prime Minister and his cabinet concerning Eritrea.