STONYBROOK, N.Y. — Former Rep. Timothy J. Bishop of New York on Tuesday called on Ethiopia’s new prime minister to step up to bring the country back from “the brink of destruction” and increase humanitarian aid and diplomacy to resolve the conflict in its restive Ogaden region.
Bishop, now a senior policy adviser at the Hudson Institute think tank, said in a speech that Ethiopian-based al-Shabab terrorist group is keeping Ethiopia’s neighbors in Somalia and Eritrea fearful and that a permanent end to the Ogaden’s violence will help improve ties between the two neighbors.
“The government should stop all support to rebel groups and convince the rebel groups to end the fighting,” Bishop said.
Ogaden in eastern Ethiopia is home to a civil war and the conflict between Ethiopians and Somalis residing there. The conflict began in the late 1990s in response to what many Ethiopians believe is a history of political repression and ethnic discrimination by the regime.
Ethiopia withdrew troops from the Ogaden following a 2001 ceasefire, but peace remained elusive as the government continued backing troops loyal to Ethiopian-born Ogaden rebel leader Abdiweli Mohammed Ali.
Abdiweli died in a landmine explosion in July and is thought to have been replaced by two other rebels.
Bishop, who was the last congressional Democrat from New York, was a member of the House Armed Services Committee from 1998 to 2006.