Ethiopia's new prime minister is making a rare outreach to opposition parties, calling on them to prepare for "peaceful dialogue and negotiations" in an effort to broaden the political space.
Abiy Ahmed spoke Thursday evening as he hosted opposition figures, civic group members and religious leaders in the capital, Addis Ababa.
Among the guests were some opposition figures recently released from detention, including Bekele Gerba and Merara Gudina.
"I urge you to serve as alternative idea generators for our country," the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate quoted the prime minister as saying.
The outspoken new leader assumed power early this month amid widespread hopes that he would bring an end to months of the most severe anti-government protests in a quarter-century.
Ethiopia is still under a state of emergency.