ADDIS ABABA, July 12 (Xinhua) -- An Eritrea-based Ethiopian rebel group Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) on Thursday announced a unilateral temporary ceasefire.
In a press statement, OLF said the unilateral ceasefire was made to accelerate peace talks with the Ethiopian government for a peaceful and negotiated settlement to its political problems.
The statement went on to say OLF has instructed its forces operating in Ethiopia's central Oromia regional state to implement the temporary ceasefire.
OLF has been active in parts of Oromia for the last several years conducting occasional guerilla-style warfare. It claims to fight for ethnic Oromos that make up about a third of Ethiopia's estimated 100 million population.
The statement from OLF comes in the backdrop of fast-improving ties between former bitter rivals Ethiopia and Eritrea, which had been locked in a border dispute for around 20 years.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed paid a state visit to Eritrea last Sunday, the first visit by an Ethiopian leader in more than 20 years. During the visit the two countries signed a peace agreement formally ending their hostilities and helping resume severed economic and diplomatic ties.
Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a two-year bloody border war from 1998-2000 that left an estimated 70,000 dead from both sides, with a peace agreement signed in Algiers, Algeria in December 2000 ending the war.
On June 5, the executive committee of the ruling party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) passed a decision expressing commitment to an unconditional implementation of Algiers peace agreement with Eritrea.
Ethiopia until last month had declined to fully endorse the results of the peace agreement, including giving the symbolically important town of Badme to Eritrea.