7 June 2018

Ethiopia's Call for Implementation of Algiers Agreement

Photo: Skilla1st/Wikimedia Commons
Map showing the disputed border between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The governing Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) Executive Committee's decision to unconditionally implement the Algiers Agreement is decisive move in normalizing the tension between Ethiopian and Eritrea as well as maintaining regional peace.

The decision will restore the people-to-people relations of the two Horn African neighbors, Horn affairs Researcher Kahsay Gebreyesus tells The Ethiopian Herald.

What forced the Ethiopian government to accept the agreement is the fact that the current 'no war no peace' has not in the interest of both countries, Kahsay adds.

According to him, if permanent peace is restored, it helps reduce military expense and both countries focus on development. The call to end the border dispute and implement the full verdict of the Algiers Accord by Ethiopian government at this time is very critical, he adds.

Whatever the reason might be the decision to accept the Accord is praiseworthy one as it solves peoples' problems.

But the readiness of the Ethiopian government alone is not sufficient for the successful implementation of the peace Accord. In addition, the basic causes of war are still unsolved. There are basic practical challenges to implement the agreement.

As to Kahsay, the basic cause of Ethio-Eritrean war was not boarder issue it was rather historical factors as well as economic and regional military interests, Kahsay notes.

The Ethiopian government proposed solutions by considering the interests of the peoples. But Eritrean government was not willing to accept because of its internal political situation.

"Hence, the Eritrean government wants to use the conflict as a survival strategy. Giving away Badime (the disputed area) would not change the behavior of the Asmara region.

It is also imperative to foster economic integration between Addis Ababa and Asmara if the two countries reach in agreement, he points out.

Professor Medane Tadesse, political analyst says the government of Ethiopia should change the current situation to promote peace and avoid causes of future security treats. And for this, it is important to respect the Algiers Agreement.

He notes that countries' energy, infrastructure and economic integration are inevitable as they share many things in common including cultural identity. There is no other alternative.

Bekele Lemmi, Lecturer at Addis Ababa University says above everything else the decision aims restoring the people to people ties of the two countries. Ethiopia's move seems to promote the philosophy of togetherness, shared development and mutual growth, he adds.

Based on the give and take principle, Ethiopia can also have access to the Port of Assab while benefiting Eritrea economically.

"If there is an enemy in your neighbor, the country cannot develop, maintain sustainable peace and security. Hence, accepting the Agreement would help to create connections."

Probably Eritrea would accept Ethiopia's call for the implementation of the Algiers agreement. However, it could be difficult to the regime would accept the call easily, he points out.

By its nature Eritrean government is not ready to accept Ethiopia's the call as it does not want to see a strong state in the region, Bekele notes.

"Ethiopia has made the first move. If Eritrea is ready, it would be possible to solve the issue gradually. There is a need to hold mutual discussion before going through the implementation of the agreement.

According to him, there are some things that Ethiopia might lose in implementing the Accord. It needs to hold discussions with its peoples, he notes.

An Eritrean diplomat to the African Union, who opted for anonymity, tells The Ethiopian Herald that it is too early to comment on the issue without going to details. However, he hints out that peace is in the interest of all.

The Ethiopian Herald's Haftu Gebrezgabiher has also contributed to this piece.

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