Ethiopia says it will accept Eritrea peace deal and border ruling
Ethiopia says it will abide by a peace agreement designed to end conflict with neighbouring Eritrea and accept an international ruling on its shared border with the country.
While a peace deal was signed in 2000, Ethiopia has refused to abide by the ruling of a Hague-based boundary commission that places the small town of Badme in Eritrea. However, Ethiopia’s new prime minister says the country will fully implement the 2000 peace deal and accept the border ruling, which could bring an end to Africa’s longest-running conflict.
Abiy seeks to end Eritrea conflict
Conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea erupted 20 years ago, shortly after Eritrea gained independence from its neighbouring country. The war centred around the small town of Badme but reflected a much larger issue of territorial tension along the countries’ shared border. More than 80,000 people have died during the conflict since it began in 1998 over town with a population of roughly 1,600 people.
Tensions continue to fluctuate today and the threat of renewed conflict is an ongoing issue between the troubled neighbours. In 2002, a border commission based int he Hague ruled that Badme lies in Eritrean territory but Ethiopia has always refuted the ruling and refused to withdraw from the town.
Now, Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed says it is time to end the war with Eritrea and seek improved bilateral relations between the two countries.
“All that we have achieved from the situation of the last 20 years is tension,” he said in a speech on Wednesday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
“Neither Ethiopia nor Eritrea benefit from a stalemate. We need to expend all our efforts towards peace and reconciliation and extricate ourselves from petty conflicts and divisions and focus on eliminating poverty.”
Abiy came into power in April following years of political unrest in Ethiopia and continued tensions with neighbouring Eritrea. Among his primary tasks as the country’s new prime minister is easing political tensions within the country, as well as those outside it. Abiy has promised political reforms since coming into power, including a revision of Ethiopia’s controversial anti-terror laws, raising hopes that the country can secure political stability.
Featured image: By Skilla1st – Own work using: Eritrea location map.svg by NordNordWest, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25055977