In the aftermath of a historic summit between their leaders, Eritrea and Ethiopia on Monday signed a declaration in Asmara formalizing their rapprochement and ending twenty years of state of war.
Eritrean President Issaias Afeworki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have signed a “joint declaration of peace and friendship,” Eritrean Minister of Information Yemane Gebremeskel said.
“The state of war that existed between the two countries has come to an end. A new era of peace and friendship is opening,” according to this text.
Both countries will work to build close cooperation in the areas of politics, economy, social, culture and security.
Extract from the joint declaration of peace and friendship signed by both countries
The document confirms the resumption of trade, transport and telecommunications, the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and the implementation of international decisions on the common border.
Images of the ceremony show MM. Issaias and Abiy seated at a wooden desk, against the backdrop of the flags of both countries, signing the declaration.
Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Workneh Gebeyehu announced the creation of a joint commission under the supervision of the two heads of diplomacy, charged with establishing a “tangible timetable” for reforms.
This commission will oversee sub-committees that will define in detail when and how each issue will be addressed.
For the first meeting in 20 years between the two most senior Eritrean and Ethiopian leaders, the Ethiopian delegation received a warm welcome on Sunday in Asmara.
“We agreed on the resumption of air and sea traffic, the movement of people between our two countries and the reopening of embassies,” Abiy said.
We will tear down the wall and, with love, we will build a bridge between the two countries.
The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed
Ethiopian Airlines is expected to resume flights to Asmara next week, FANA broadcaster reported on Monday.
The thaw was sparked by Abiy’s announcement in June of Ethiopia’s willingness to implement the peace agreement signed in Algiers in 2000 with Eritrea and the findings of the independent international commission on terrorism. demarcation of the border.
Decades of conflict
Between 1998 and 2000, Ethiopia and Eritrea engaged in a conventional war, with tanks and trenches, which left some 80,000 dead, including a disagreement over their common border.
Ethiopia’s refusal to implement a decision in 2002 by a UN-backed border commission has been a source of animosity between the two countries.
The restoration of diplomatic and commercial ties after years of hostility could benefit both neighbors and the entire Horn of Africa, plagued by conflict and poverty.
Standardization will contribute to achieving “our aspiration for peace and economic integration of our region and the African continent”, welcomed the regional organization IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority for Development).
Formerly Ethiopia’s seaboard with the ports of Massawa and Assab, Eritrea declared independence in 1993, after driving Ethiopian troops out of its territory in 1991, after three decades of war.
The independence of Eritrea deprived Ethiopia of access to the sea and forced it to rely almost exclusively on Djibouti for its maritime trade.
Access by Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country, to Eritrean ports is expected to boost the economies of both countries, while threatening the hegemony of Djibouti.
Freedom of movement on both sides of the border will bring together two peoples, linked by a common history, language and ethnicity, and separated families for more than 20 years.
The main East African leaders hailed these advances. “We congratulate you and we are with you,” Rwandan President Paul Kagame wrote on Twitter.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday applauded “a very important symbol of hope not only for the two countries, not only for Africa but for the whole world”.
Henry Toffoli was born and raised in Mobile. Henry has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade having contributed to several large publications including the Tuscaloosa News in the Times-Journal. As a journalist for Alabama Post Gazette, Henry covers national and international developments.