15 September 2018

Ethiopia: Done Deal

Ethiopia hosted the 33rd extraordinary summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Wednesday, September 12, 2018. It was attended by the heads of state of Djibouti, Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia and Kenya, with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) chairing.

The summit addressed two main issues up for discussion: the ongoing peace process between South Sudanese factions and Eritrea's re-entry into IGAD after an absence of almost a decade. The South Sudan issue upstaged the event, however. The two leaders of the warring parties in the civil war, President Salva Kiir and his former vice president, Riek Machar (PhD), signed a revised peace agreement to resolve the South Sudanese civil war that has raged for half a decade.

Hundreds of thousands are believed to have died, millions displaced and almost half the population has been left at the brink of starvation.

Eritrea's possible re-entry into IGAD following the rapid rapprochement with Ethiopia was removed from the discussion in light of the great deal of goodwill generated on both sides, according to Mahboub Maalim, executive director of IGAD.

"Basically ... [Prime Minister Abiy] celebrated the [Ethiopian] New Year on the border," he said. "It is a done deal."

Abiy celebrated the New Year with Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki, and the joint Ethiopian and Eritrean defence forces at Bure, along the border area. The border crossing between Debay Sima and Bure has since been opened officially.

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