ADDIS ABABA, April 15 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia's new prime minister Abiy Ahmed on Sunday assured Ethiopians of his administration's commitment unity in seeking a better future.
Ahmed made the remarks while addressing a gathering of some 25,000 Ethiopians and members of the the diplomatic community.
He called on participants, including officials from federal and regional governments, religious leaders, representatives of women and youth, academia and experts from various disciplines, to work closely to build peace and democracy, to ensure good governance and accountability for public officials.
Ahmed came to power amid worries of deteriorating unity among Ethiopians, who witnessed recurrent ethnic clashes and violent anti-government demonstrations in different parts of the country.
His call for stronger unity started earlier last week as part of his first official trip outside the capital, Addis Ababa, to the eastern Somali regional state that was mainly aimed at resolving deadly communal clashes that have claimed the lives of hundreds of Ethiopians and displaced hundreds of thousands others.
The east African country has recently experienced deadly clashes among two of its largest regional states, Oromia and the Somali regional state, which were triggered by tensions over border delineation.
Addressing residents of Jijiga, capital of the Somali regional state, he said the deadly clashes between the two ethnic groups "should never have taken place."
Ahmed expressed his commitment to bringing a lasting solution to the tragedy that affected hundreds of thousands of people from the two groups.
Ethiopia's National Disaster Risk Management Commission estimated that close to 900,000 people have been displaced as a result of the conflict.
Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, professor of public policy at Addis Ababa University, told Xinhua recently that the problem of youth protests in Ethiopia is the other challenge for Ethiopia "that has the potential to escalate into a wider conflict."
Noting the power of youth protests in Ethiopia's recent history, which saw the resignation of former prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn followed by the proclamation of a six-month emergency rule, Costantinos praised Ahmed for giving due emphasis on the youth when he addressed a huge gathering of youngsters in Ambo, a town in Ethiopia's largest Oromia regional state.
According to experts, Ahmed's trip to Ambo, a town that has been a hotbed of mass anti-government protests over the past few years, was mainly aimed at assuring the local youth of his commitments.
Ahmed urged the youth to support his administration.
"We are now on the path of change and love," he said. "We want to work hand-in-hand with you."
The premier also hosted a dinner reception for the country's opposition leaders on Thursday night, promising to work with opposition figures to improve socioeconomic conditions for Ethiopia, which has been rocked by bouts of unrest since the second half of 2016.
"We need to rally together to make sure that a constitutional and democratic culture is sufficiently developed to the extent we would like to have," he told opposition politicians.
Ahmed said building a country "where different political opinions are tolerated, equality is guaranteed, and accountability is ensured" is his major target.
His first speech as premier before the Ethiopian parliament's lower house, on April 2, was welcomed with rapture by the general public and critics.
Ahmed, chairman of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), vowed to ensure unity and equality among Ethiopians in socioeconomic and political scenarios.
"Now is the moment to look back and make amends with the past, assess our current stance, and look to the future," he said.