East Africa: Ethiopia and Eritrea - Longtime Foes to Come to the Table

A group of Eritrean men, women and children who have just been dropped off dusty and tired at the entry point in the small town of Adinbried, about 50km southeast of Badme, having crossed the border during the preceding night.

Almost twenty years under "no war, no peace" situation, the subsequent governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea are finally coming to the negotiation table to resolve their difference and implement the longstanding Algiers Agreement that has put a stop to the 1998-2000 boarder clash.

This came following the latest announcement by President Isaias Afewerki where he made public his intentions to discuss with Ethiopian government regarding the implementation of the Algiers Agreement and to resolve the two-decade long animosity between the two nations.

In a televised event commemorating the 30th year anniversary of Eritrean Martyrs' Day, President Isaias said he is ready to send a delegation to Addis Ababa to restart talks between the two neighbors, after two decades. This comes following the decision of the executive committee of the ruling Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to accept the Algiers accord unconditionally and to invite the Eritrean side for talks on the implementation of the agreement.

"The positive signals issued in these past days in Ethiopia can be seen as an expression of this popular choice," said Isaias to the gathering, this week.

He further stated that "the complementarity of both peoples and countries, their common bilateral interests and prosperity are sacrosanct objectives to which we have toiled and paid sacrifices for two generations."

For this reason, and outside myopic considerations of public relations stunts and advantages, we will send a delegation to Addis Ababa, Isaias told the gathering.

He also reminded that "both Eritrean people and the Ethiopian people have lost an opportunity of two generations and over half a century due to policies designed to promote external global agendas."

This positive step by the two warring states was welcomed by the international community including the US government, European Union and the UN as well.

Just on Thursday, June 20, 2018, the US issued a statement and said that it appreciates the progress made by the two countries.

"The United States is encouraged by the progress that Ethiopia and Eritrea have made to resolve longstanding disputes and normalize relations," reads the statement.

It also said "US government looks forward to a full normalization of relations and the realization of our shared aspirations for both countries to enjoy enduring peace and development."

In a similar statement EU's, high representative, vice president Federica Mogherini called the steps taken by the two countries as decisive towards resolution of the longstanding differences. It also expresses its readiness to assist the two countries on their effort towards reconciliation.

Following this positive response from the regime in Asmara, political groups including organizations designated as terrorists by the Ethiopian parliament have also express their willingness to abandon their armed struggle to set around table. Groups such as the Patriotic-Ginbot 7 and Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) which the Eritrean Regime had been harboring have also expressed their commitment to discuss issues with Ethiopian government and in return to stop their armed struggle against Ethiopian government.

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