ADDIS ABABA, Sep. 18 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn held talks with religious leaders and elders on the weekend to urge them to help resolve deadly clashes along the boundary of two regional states, state media reported Monday.
In a discussion held at his office, the premier said the federal government is trying to create sustainable solution to the boundary dispute between Oromia and Somali, according to Radio Fana.
The elders and religious figures expressed commitment to work in collaboration with the government to restore peace.
Ethiopia's biggest regional states Oromia and Somali have been locked in a dispute over the delineation of their common boundary for almost two decades.
A referendum in October 2004 was supposed to demarcate the boundary between the two regional states, but its implementation has been stalled ever since with both sides accusing each other of non-compliance with the referendum results.
Over the past week, heavy clashes along the Oromia-Somali boundary spilled into ethnic violence which has left scores of people dead and tens of thousands displaced.
As part of the efforts to calm the situation, the Ethiopian federal government announced on Saturday roads that cross both regional states will be guarded by the federal police and security forces of both regional states will withdraw from border locations.
In addition, the statement from the federal government said it will engage in disarmament of weapons held by civilians in the area of the conflict.