Ethiopian government said on Friday that it will begin dialogue with political opposition figures after announcing a list of prominent opposition leaders to be released from prison.

“The key to lasting peace is dialogue,” said the statement issued by the government communications office. “One of the moral obligations of a victor is mercy.”

Meanwhile, the country has freed several opposition leaders from prison, the state broadcaster reported on Friday, as the government said it would begin dialogue with political opponents after 14 months of war when thousands of people have been arrested.

The move to free leaders from several ethnic groups is the most significant breakthrough since war broke out in the northern Tigray region, threatening the unity of Africa’s second-most populous state.

Some leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the party fighting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s central government, are among those freed.

“The key to lasting peace is dialogue,” a statement from the government communications office said. “One of the moral obligations of a victor is mercy.”

The state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation’s list of those being freed included two senior political leaders from Oromiya: Bekele Gerba, a senior leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress party, and Jawar Mohammed, founder of the Oromiya Media Network. Bekele Gerba’s son Samuel Bekele later tweeted the two men were freed. The two men were charged in September 2020 with terrorism offences.