The decades-long diplomatic and arm stand-off between Ethiopia and Eritrea has come to an official as leaders of both countries signed a ”joint declaration of peace and friendship” after summit signalled the start to normalisation of ties between the former archnemeses.
Earlier on Monday, Yemane Gebremeskel, the Information Minister of Eritrea shared a picture on Twitter of the two leaders seated beside a table with theirs national colours draping at the back, saying ”The Agreement, which specifies five pillars, was signed this morning at State House by President Isaias Afwerki and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed”.
Among the five pillars, the first declared the war between the two countries as having ended. While the others ushered a new era of peace and friendship that will permit both countries to cooperate in areas involving politics, economic. cultural, social as well as their share security concerns.
Additionally, activities involving trade, transportation. telecommunications will resume and diplomatic ties which have been shattered since 1998 will be renewed. Border decisions was made between the two countries will be implemented and the two guarantee working together to maintain regional peace, development and cooperation.
The announcement falls in line with part of the policy shift driven by new leadership in Addis Ababa under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who was welcomed to a one-on-one discussions in Asmara by the Eritrean president.
At an official dinner thrown in his honour, Prime Minister Abiy said ”We agree that the airlines will start operating, the ports will be accessible, people can move between the two countries and the embassies will be opened. We will demolish the wall and, with love, build a bridge between the two countries”.
The detente will bring an end to one of Africa’s most protracted conflict that has contributed in hurting both countries. Some 80,000 people were killed between 1998-2000.
Ethiopia has previously rejected a United Nations agreement requested that it cede border land to Eritrea, but the appointment of Abiy has saw all that changed over the last few months.
BaretaNews Foreign Correspondent/Analyst