18 April 2018

Ethiopia: Initiative a Recipe in Normalizing Ethio-Eritrea Relations - Scholars

Photo: allafrica.com
Eritrea and Ethiopia relations.

With the hope of normalizing the hostile situation between Ethiopia and Eritrea, citizens of the two neighboring countries have recently initiated a new movement under the name 'Peace Song for Ethio-Eritrea Initiative'. As the movement adopted a new bottom up approach to the deal with the issue, scholars believe that it would bring about tangible result.

It is an open secret that Ethiopia and Eritrea have been in 'no peace no war' situation for almost two decades, despite the repeated efforts of the Ethiopian government to normalize the situation.

That is why a different initiative with a bottom up approach named 'Peace Song for Ethio-Eritrea' has been devised as the routine trends of the top down have not borne any fruits.

Scholars are expressing their hopes that the new initiative and its new bottom up approach would bring to an end the historical hostilities between the governments of the two countries.

Mentioning that he has taken part in the two decisive meetings of scholars from the two nations, Yemane Kidane (Jamaica), former member and central committee of TPLF tells The Ethiopian Herald that the issues the new movement raise are good and would move the status quo one step ahead.

Not only that, the youths who have taken this new initiative have to be appreciated. They are working relentlessly round the clock pushing the issue forward bearing the light at the end of tunnel ahead of them in mind, he adds. The citizens of the respective nations aspire to have peaceful relation established in the spirit of brotherhood. The only one who is hindering progress is Eritrean President Isaias and other beneficiaries of the Asmara regime. But, I believe such new movements will influence Eritreans- to pressurize the regime in Asmara thereby force Isaias to come to a roundtable discussion. In other words, the President will have no other option rather than swallowing the hard truth," Jamaica accentuates.

Yemane who has an Eritrean family background adds the no peace no war situation has affected him personally for all his family members are in Eritrea.

"If the situation is normalized, peoples of the two countries will benefit more as they will get the opportunity to join with their family members living in the two countries. So, I will stand by the movement and I assured them so," he remarks.

Abebe Aynete, Senior Researcher at the Ethiopian Foreign Relations Strategic Studies Institute, on his part says that such trials; there were few similar movements prior to this one. Comparatively speaking, the recent movement is different in that it seems sustainable and more organized.

"The new movement does not seem to be a mere event. All the processes and the way it is handled thus far clearly indicate its sustainability," he adds.

The other promising prospect ahead of the bottom up approach, according to Abebe, is the top down approach of the government. The new Premier has in his acceptance speech that pledged his readiness to resolve disputes with Eritrea, he stresses.

Having expressed his hope, Gebru Tareke, Professor of History on his part says that the new movement is a worthy while initiative that would bring the peoples of the two respective nations closer.

These peoples are linked historically, geographically, economically, culturally, religiously. Beyond that, they are also tied in blood.

The highland society of Eritrea and Northern Ethiopia are for instance linked both ethnically and linguistically. "So, no matter how people try to erect a wall between these two brotherly peoples, they can never separate them" he underlines.

Professor Gebru, who is also wrote a book entitled 'The Ethiopian Revolution: War in the Horn of Africa' says that these young people mobilizing the new initiative here in Ethiopia are trying to create and increase pressure on the stubborn leader of Eritrea, who have been and is still obstructing all reconciliation efforts. This calls for a greater public pressure which has begun here in Ethiopia on the side of Eritrea, as he states.

According to the Professor, Isaias may not bend without such a popular pressure and that has to come from the Eritreans themselves, nobody else can do it for them.

"So I highly appreciate what the Eritrean youths currently living here in Ethiopia are trying to do. This is the first step in the right direction," he says adding "In my view; no external force will be able to resolve the situation in Eritrea. If any external force tries to intervene, the likely outcome would be very similar to that of Libya. It would be horrendous not only for Eritrea but also for the greater horn in general."

Professor Gebru, on the other hand, expresses his hope that President Isaias would forcefully embrace this initiative as the new Ethiopian Prime Minister pledged his readiness to come to a roundtable discussion.

In the meantime, all the scholars agree that these movements would be easier on the Ethiopian side for there is a fresh movement on the side of the ruling party and the youth. On the contrary, it would be a lot more difficult on the Eritrean side, though the Eritrean people need peaceful and durable resolution for the ongoing conflict.

The other challenge in Asmara today is that there is no other organized body and institution that can direct Isaias when he is wrong. He is the government, the constitution, the party and everything else, says Yemane.

The struggle to bring the Ethiopian and Eritrean people outside the governmental parameters would be more difficult on the Eritrean side than it would be here in Ethiopian, the scholars reiterate.

Abebe says, "But the relationship and brotherhood between the two peoples is immortal regardless of the two governments' position. It is not governments who are everlasting but people" Anyways, it is time that tells everything.

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 The Ethiopian Herald. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.