- Resolution of the Ethiopia-Eritrea dispute brings hope for stability and development
2. Ethiopia recently decided to implement an earlier Peace Agreement with neighbouring Eritrea.
3. The agreement which intended to bring an end to a conflict triggered by Eritrea. It was signed in Algiers in December 2000.
4. Conflict between the two countries:
- Eriterea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993, following a guerrilla war.
- The two neighbours remained deadlocked in a conflict over a dispute concerning border town of Badma.
- Boundaries delimitation commission had awarded the area to Eritrea in 2002, but Ethiopia refused to cede control.
- The presence of Ethiopian troops served to prolong the confrontation, as Eritrea mobilized its own forces.
- The conflict gave the dictator a pretext to expand a large conscription programme, in the process of triggering a mass exodus to European countries.
- Desperate Eritrean migrants were drowned off Italy’s Lampedusa Island in 2013.
- Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed has unveiled democratic reforms including lifting the state of emergency, releasing political prisoners, and removing some opposition parties from the list of terrorist groups.
- But there are conflict in the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, between the country’s ethnic Oromo majority and the politically dominant Tigrayan minority.
- Unless managed tactfully, these internal tensions within the governing coalition could impede the peace process.
- Greater transparency and political accountability domestically is also important for stability across the borders.
- Ethiopia and Eritrea are strategically located, both as gateways for global trade and for counter-terrorism operations. Therefore, restoring peace and democracy between the two countries is an urgent priority.
- The International community must step up to engage both Ethiopia and Eritrea on fairer terms than it has during the course of the bitter conflict. But the final path to redemption lies in political wisdom.