Ethiopia and Eritrea have agreed to reopen embassies and borders, Ethiopia’s prime minister said during a visit to Asmara on Sunday, signaling an end to two decades of conflict between the neighbors.
“We agreed that the airlines will start operating, the ports will be accessible, people can move between the two countries and the embassies will be opened,” Abiy Ahmed said at a dinner attended by Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki following talks earlier in the day.
Ethiopia and Eritrea broke off relations at the start of a 1998-2000 border conflict that claimed 80,000 lives.
Ethiopia then refused to honor a 2002 ruling by a United Nations-backed boundary commission meant to settle the frontier dispute, leading to years of cold war between the two neighbors.
In office since April, Abiy announced last month that Ethiopia would cede territory to Eritrea including the flashpoint town of Badme that it is occupying in violation of the border ruling.
Africa’s second most populous country, Ethiopia was rendered landlocked in 1993 when Eritrea, then a province, voted for independence after years of bloodshed.
Eritrea and Ethiopia Sign Peace declaration
09 July 2018 – Eritrea and Ethiopia have signed a Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship today.
The Agreement, which specifies five pillars, was signed this morning at State House by President Isaias Afwerki and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
According to Yemane G. Meskel, Eritrea’s Information Minister, the Joint Declaration states, inter alia,
1) State of war that existed between the two countries has come to an end. A new era of peace & friendship has been ushered;
2) Both countries will work to promote close cooperation in political, economic, social, cultural & security areas.
3) Transport, trade and telecommunication ties will be resumed; diplomatic ties & activities renewed;
4) Border decision will be implemented;
5) Both countries will work together to guarantee regional peace, development & cooperation
Yesterday, Prime Minister Abiy said, “enough of war and news of imminent wars.”
President Isaias on his part said, “the tumultuous welcome accorded to Prime Minister Abiy in Asmara underscores how much the people of Eritrea cherish peace.”
Yesterday, direct phone connections restored for the first time, according to the Ethiopian chief of Staff of Prime Minister’s office Fitsum Arega.
He said, “for the first time after two decades, a direct international telephone connection between Ethiopia and Eritrea is restored today.”