Global community responds to recent positive progress in Ethiopia, Eritrea relations


An article from Xinhua News

Recent positive developments concerning the relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea have given the global community with more confidence that relations among the two arch-rivals are normalizing.

The United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), and the European Union (EU) are some of the various international actors that welcomed recent positive moves made by the two East African nations that experienced one of Africa’s deadliest wars and the subsequent two-decade-long armed standoff.

Isaias Afwerki

Eritrean President, Isaias Afwerki, on Wednesday broke two weeks of Eritrean silence to Ethiopia’s offer to unconditionally implement the decisions of peace agreement that ended a two-year border war from 1998-2000, which is estimated to have killed 70,000 people from both sides.

The decision to send a delegation by Eritrea is the first formal response from the Red Sea nation since Ethiopia’s surprise announcement to accept the peace deal that was signed some 18 years ago, eventually igniting the normalization of relations among the two countries.

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in a statement issued on Thursday commended the efforts of the leaders of both countries to achieve sustainable peace and good neighborly relations which, in turn, “will have positive repercussions in the entire Horn of Africa region.”

“The Secretary-General welcomes the positive steps taken recently by Ethiopia and Eritrea to resolve the outstanding issues regarding the normalization of relations between the two countries,” the statement read.

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Question for this article:

Can the African Union help bring a culture of peace to Africa?

Can peace be achieved between Ethiopia and Eritrea?

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Guterres also pleaded to support the two countries’ efforts by providing “all support that may contribute to advancing and consolidating the process of engagement between Ethiopia and Eritrea.”

The decision of President Afwerki to dispatch a delegation to Ethiopia for constructive engagement with Ethiopia was also welcomed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who commendes Afwerki’s decision.

AU Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, also commended the two countries and their leaders “for these bold and courageous steps,” according to an AU statement.

Mahamat further encouraged the two countries to persevere on this path, in order to open a new chapter of cooperation and good neighborliness between Eritrea and Ethiopia, according to the statement.

Mahamat stressed that sustainable peace between the two countries “will have a tremendously positive impact on peace and security, as well as development and integration, in the Horn of Africa region and the continent as a whole.”

“This will also be a significant contribution to the goal of ending all conflicts and wars on the continent by 2020, as pledged by the African Heads of State and Government in May 2013,” AU’s statement read.

The chairperson also reiterated AU’s readiness to assist the two member states, “in whichever way deemed appropriate, in addressing the challenges at hand and taking all steps required towards the full normalization of their relations.”

EU’s High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, also welcomed the move by Ethiopia and Eritrea to resolve their longstanding differences, saying it denotes “decisive steps towards the resolution of the longstanding differences between the two countries.”

“Ethiopia and Eritrea have a critical role in promoting stability and prosperity in the Horn of Africa,” Mogherini said.