After a 20 year simmering conflict, Ethiopia and Eritrea have made peace.
About 100,000 people were killed in the war, many Eritreans and Ethiopians fled, some of them to Germany.
The war had ignited border disputes over a 1000-inhabitant village – and thus good chances to enter as particularly meaningless in the history.
After decades of hostility Ethiopia and Eritrea officially ends their state of war. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea President Issaias Afwerki signed a “Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship” on Monday, according to Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel. Both countries now sought “close cooperation in the political, economic, social, cultural and security fields”.
The statement marks a turnaround in the relationship between the two states: from 1998 to 2000 they fought a fierce war against each other, killing around 100,000 people. The conflict has a good chance of going down in history as particularly meaningless. He broke out because both states did not agree who owns the village Badme. Badme is a place with about a thousand inhabitants in the midst of a hot, largely barren plain. The war sent a million people to flight. Both states resorted to autocratic measures. Before the dictatorship in Eritrea numerous people fled in recent years, some of whom applied for asylum in Germany.
Peace gesture in the Horn of Africa
It is one of the bitterest conflicts on the continent: the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Now the new Prime Minister in Addis Ababa is surprisingly making a reconciliation offer to the neighboring country.
By Bernd Dörries
Ethiopia wants to withdraw from the disputed areas
Eritrea had split off from Ethiopia in the early 1990s following a three-decade-long war and declared independence in 1993. The new Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy began reconciliation after taking office in April. Already on Sunday, both sides agreed on Abyy’s visit to Eritrea’s capital Asmara the resumption of diplomatic relations.
Messages and borders should be reopened, air connections re-established, and ports reopened, Abiy said after his talks with the Eritrean president. Earlier, the two politicians embraced each other at their welcome in Asmara – a gesture that was recently unthinkable.
Abiy had promised in his inaugural speech to come to peace with Eritrea. At the beginning of June, he announced that he would “fully implement” the decision of an International Arbitration Commission on the 2002 Border Crossing, supported by the UN. Ethiopia will withdraw from disputed areas. So far, Ethiopia had refused to accept the award. Again and again there were skirmishes in which several hundred people were killed over the years.
A hopeful for Ethiopia
Prime Minister Abiyi reverses the authoritarian regime of the country. Among other things, he wants to return occupied territories to the neighbor Eritrea.
Comment by Bernd Dörries