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Ethiopia and Eritrea agree establish committees on restoring ties | Coastweek
UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- A meeting of the United Nations Security Council at the UN headquarters in New York. The Security Council will be discussing the lifting of sanctions against Eritrea given its agreement with Ethiopia to end their "state of war," diplomats said Tuesday. XINHUA PHOTYO - LI MUZI

 

Ethiopia and Eritrea agree establish committees on restoring ties

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Former bitter rivals Ethiopia and Eritrea are to establish national committees in economic, political, security and military fields, Ethiopia’s foreign minister said on Monday.

Speaking to media in Addis Ababa shortly after his return from Eritrean capital Asmara, Workneh Gebeyehu said the economic, diplomatic, political and human relations, which have been cut for 20 years, will be restored soon.

A delegation led by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Eritrea on Monday morning signed a peace declaration with their Eritrean counterparts to end mutual hostilities, settle border disputes and resume economic, political and diplomatic ties.

"The national committees ... will work out the exact time and date of the implementation plan ...

"We’ve already established two commissions headed by the respective foreign ministers of both countries," said Gebeyehu.

"We’re going to have sub-committees that will work out in detail when and how each and every issue will be implemented," he further said.

The minister also said as soon as next week, flights between Eritrean capital Asmara and Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa will resume as well as Eritrean ports servicing landlocked Ethiopia’s rising economic needs.

"With this peace declaration the two countries’ hostilities have been resolved.

"Our people’s efforts have made it possible for the conflict to be stopped peacefully, with flights between the two capitals expected to start later this month it will enable peoples from both countries to meet with each other after 20 years of separation," said Gebeyehu.

He further said there will be a technical committee to resolve the two countries’ bitter border dispute and help implement the Algiers peace agreement signed in 2000.

On June 5, the executive committee of the ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) passed a decision expressing commitment to an unconditional implementation of Algiers peace agreement with Eritrea.

The peace agreement ended a two-year border war from 1998-2000 that killed an estimated 70,000 people from both sides, but a tense armed standoff continued, with the two countries engaging in skirmishes occasionally.
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UPDATES AND EARLIER REPORTS:

Ethiopia and Eritrea agree to resume air services and port use agreement

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia and Eritrea have agreed to resume air services and for landlocked Ethiopia to use Eritrean ports for its growing foreign trade, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Sunday.

Ahmed made the statement hours after he landed in Eritrea. In a live statement from the Eritrean Presidential Palace in Asmara broadcast by state media in Eritrea and Ethiopia, Ahmed said the air services and port usage agreement aim to create a people-to-people ties between the two countries.

Ahmed also said he has agreed with his Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki to reopen each other’s diplomatic missions in their respective countries.

In June Ethiopia received a high-level Eritrean delegation led by Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Salah, the first high level Eritrean delegation to visit Ethiopia in 20 years.

The Eritrean delegation came to Ethiopia after Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki declared that his country would send a team to Ethiopia to assess a recent Ethiopia peace offer.

On June 5, the Executive Committee of the ruling party, the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) passed decision expressing Ethiopia’s commitment to an unconditional implementation of Algiers peace agreement with Eritrea.

The peace agreement ended the two-year border war, but a tense armed standoff continued, with the two countries engaging in skirmishes occasionally.

Ethiopia until this month had declined to endorse the results of the peace agreement fully, including the symbolically important town of Badme which Ethiopia currently controls but which was awarded to Eritrea.

Eritrea for its part had until recently insisted the border demarcation must be done first before any talks on normalizing ties.
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Eritrea’s first delegation to Ethiopia in 20 years brings new hope

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- With the visit of Eritrea’s first delegation to Ethiopia in 20 years, the Ethiopian government revealed a higher possibility of normalization of relations between the two countries since a bloody two-year border war from 1998-2000.

The Eritrean delegation headed by Foreign Minister Osman Salah was greeted at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workineh Gebeyehu on Wednesday.

Since then, the delegation has been conducting discussions with senior Ethiopian government officials and paying visits to Ethiopia’s development projects, including Ethiopia’s flagship Chinese-built Hawassa Industrial Park.

The new developments during the delegations’ visit to Ethiopia include the agreement to reopen embassies and redeploy diplomatic corps in each other’s soil as well as the decision to conduct meeting between the two countries’ leaders in the near future, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Gebeyehu, following his discussions with his Eritrean counterpart, also stressed that the visit by the top Eritrean delegation "marks a new era of cooperation, paving the way to a bright future, on the basis of mutual cooperation."

The two countries also revealed that there will be a one-on-one meeting between the Ethiopian prime pinister and Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki "in the near future" to discuss ways of further normalizing bilateral ties between the two countries.

Gebeyehu, who dubbed the recent developments among the two countries as a ray of hope on the lives of the peoples, said that members of the delegation have thoroughly discussed ways of improving bilateral ties.

The recent positive developments between the two neighboring East African countries have also given the global community with more confidence that relations among the two arch-rivals are normalizing.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday welcomed Eritrea’s high-level delegation visit to Ethiopia "as the first concrete step in normalizing relations between the two countries."

Guterres, speaking through his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, noted that diplomatic overtures to ease tensions and resolve the longstanding dispute between the two countries "will have a far-reaching and positive impact on the whole region."

The secretary-general further reiterated the readiness of the UN to play a role in supporting the two countries in the implementation of the boundary decision or in any other area they would deem useful for the world body to assist.

Eritrea’s decision to send a delegation was the first formal response from the Red Sea nation since Ethiopia’s surprise announcement to unconditionally implement the decisions of peace agreement that ended a two-year border war from 1998-2000, which is estimated to have killed 70,000 people from both sides.

The African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) also welcomed the recent positive moves made by the two East African nations that experienced one of Africa’s deadliest wars and the subsequent two-decade-long armed standoff.

AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat commended the two countries and their leaders "for these bold and courageous steps," according to an AU statement.

Mahamat stressed that sustainable peace between the two countries "will have a tremendously positive impact on peace and security, as well as development and integration, in the Horn of Africa region and the continent as a whole."

"This will also be a significant contribution to the goal of ending all conflicts and wars on the continent by 2020, as pledged by the African Heads of State and Government in May 2013," AU’s statement read.

EU’s High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini also welcomed the move by Ethiopia and Eritrea to resolve their longstanding differences, saying it denotes "decisive steps towards the resolution of the longstanding differences between the two countries."
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East Africa bloc commends historic meeting of Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) hailed on Sunday the historic meeting of Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders after 20 years of hostility.

On Sunday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed became the first Ethiopian leader to visit Eritrea in more than 20 years.

Ahmed was greeted at the Asmara International Airport by Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and is expected to hold discussions on efforts to bring lasting peace between the two nations.

The visit comes after the two countries started tentative steps to end a two-decades-old bitter border dispute that led to a bloody war from 1998 to 2000 which left an estimated 70,000 people dead from both sides.

In a press statement, IGAD Executive Secretary Mahboub Maalim said the normalization of bilateral ties would benefit the peoples of the two countries and would contribute to the realization of the shared aspiration of peace and integration in the East African region and the African continent.

Ethiopia and Eritrea are members of the eight-country trade bloc whose mission is to economically integrate the East African region.
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African Union and United Nations welcome development in Ethio-Eritrea relations

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) have hailed the latest development in the relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

As the two neighboring East African countries have started steps in normalizing relations since they fought a border war in the years between 1998 and 2000, various organizations have commended the countries for their positive moves.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed arrived in the Eritrean capital Asmara on Sunday, the first visit by an Ethiopian leader to Eritrea in 20 years, and he was given a warm welcome.

Upon arrival at the Asmara International Airport on Sunday, Abiy Ahmed was greeted by Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, and the two sides agreed among others, to resume air service, ports use, and diplomatic ties.

This has come after the Executive Committee of Ethiopia’s ruling party, the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front, passed a decision on June 5 expressing Ethiopia’s commitment to an unconditional implementation of Algiers peace agreement with Eritrea.

In the same month, Ethiopia also received a high-level Eritrean delegation led by Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Salah, the first high-level Eritrean delegation to visit Ethiopia in 20 years.

Speaking to the press on Monday here in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, hailed the recent development.

"The visit of the prime minister of Ethiopia to Eritrea is an amazing success," said Guterres, "I believe that recent evolution in relation between Eritrea and Ethiopia is very important signal not only for the two countries, not only for Africa, (but also) for the whole world."

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the AU Commission has reiterated that they support the normalization of relations between the two countries.

"We appreciate political courage of the prime minister of Ethiopia who has taken this initiative; he has accepted to respect what was adopted 20 years ago and since yesterday he has been in Asmara. We have seen the warm welcome that has been accorded to him to share that African peoples want peace and stability on the continent," he added.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has hailed the historic meeting of Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders after 20 years of hostility.

In a press statement, IGAD Executive Secretary Mahboub Maalim has said the normalization of bilateral ties would benefit the peoples of the two countries and would contribute to the realization of the shared aspiration of peace and integration in the East African region and the African continent.

Ethiopian media outlet Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed concluded his two-day visit to Eritrea on Monday, and the leaders of the two countries discussed and reached agreements to make up for lost opportunities, putting the interest and aspirations of their peoples at the center.

Upon the conclusion of the visit, the two parties agreed that state of war has come to an end; the two nations will forge close political, economic, social, cultural and security cooperation; trade, economic and diplomatic ties will resume; the boundary decision will be implemented; and both nations will work on regional peace, according to the report.
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Security Council welcome end of war between Eritrea and Ethiopia

UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) -- The Security Council on Tuesday welcomed the decision of Eritrea and Ethiopia to end the state of war between them and build peace.

The members of the Security Council commended the signing of the Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship on Monday and welcomed the commitment by both parties to resume diplomatic ties and open a new chapter of cooperation and partnership, said the council in a press statement.

This represents a historic and significant development with far-reaching positive consequences for the Horn of Africa and beyond, said the statement.

The council members welcomed the commitment of Eritrea and Ethiopia to jointly endeavor to ensure regional peace, development and cooperation and look forward to Eritrea’s active participation in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional trade bloc.

Eritrea withdrew from IGAD in 2007, but was re-admitted in 2011.

The members of the Security Council recognized the call in the Joint Declaration for solidarity and support, and encouraged all actors to offer their support to the peace process. The members of the Security Council stand ready to support Eritrea and Ethiopia in their implementation of the Joint Declaration, said the statement.

The Security Council will be discussing the lifting of sanctions against Eritrea thanks to the latest developments, diplomats said Tuesday.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, whose country holds the presidency of the Security Council for July, said she hoped the lifting of sanctions against the Horn of Africa country will "happen shortly."

"I join the (UN) secretary-general, who says if the reasons for introducing sanctions are removed, then also the sanctions of course could be removed," Wallstrom, who was at UN headquarters to chair a Security Council debate, told reporters.

Asked how soon the sanctions could be lifted, she said: "We are looking at that—whether we can even introduce it as quickly as possible during our presidency (within July) or what will be the right time. We will have to check what is happening on the ground."

She expressed the hope that the Security Council could make a decision with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres returning from Addis Ababa on Tuesday with fresh impression of the situation on the ground.

She said the lifting of sanctions against Eritrea would be "fantastic.

"It means something for the whole Horn of Africa region," she said.

Dutch ambassador to the United Nations, Karel van Oosterom, also confirmed on Tuesday that there might be discussions at the Security Council about the lifting of sanctions against Eritrea.

Swedish UN ambassador Olof Skoog told his EU colleagues at the Security Council on Tuesday that his country was in contact with both Ethiopia and Eritrea, according to van Oosterom.

The Security Council imposed sanctions in 2009 on Eritrea, including an arms embargo, for its destabilizing role in neighboring countries.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Monday handed a letter to Guterres in Addis Ababa, requesting the lifting of sanctions against Eritrea. Guterres said the sanctions will naturally become obsolete if the reasons that led to them no longer exist.

Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 and the two countries fought a war between 1998 and 2000. Although they signed a peace agreement in December 2000, tensions continued.

Leaders of the the two countries held a historic summit in the Eritrean capital of Asmara on Sunday and Monday and agreed to end hostilities and normalize relations.
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Egypt welcomes peace deal between Eritrea and Ethiopia

CAIRO Egypt (Xinhua) -- Egypt welcomed on Monday the signing of an agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia to end their two decades of dispute.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s visit to Eritrea had started new relationship between the two countries in order to reach security and stability in the region, Egyptian foreign ministry said that in a statement.

Egypt also hopes that the deal would be a model for all countries suffering from disputes in Africa.

The ministry reiterated that Egypt is keen to enhance cooperation with Eritrea, Ethiopia and other African countries in order to cement stability and development.

A delegation led by Ahmed on Monday signed a peace declaration with its Eritrean counterparts to end mutual hostilities, settle border disputes and resume economic, political and diplomatic ties.

Speaking to media in Addis Ababa after his return from Eritrean capital Asmara, Ethiopia Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu said there will be a technical committee to resolve the countries’ bitter border dispute and help implement the peace agreement signed in Algiers in 2000.

On June 5, the executive committee of the Ethiopian ruling party passed a decision, expressing commitment to an unconditional implementation of Algiers peace agreement with Eritrea.

The peace deal ended a two-year border war from 1998 to 2000 that killed an estimated 70,000 people from both sides, but a tense armed standoff continued, with the two countries engaging in skirmishes occasionally.
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United Arab Emirates commend re-establishment
of diplomatic ties between Ethiopia and Eritrea

DUBAI United Arab Emirates (Xinhua) -- United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday welcomed the reestablishment of diplomatic ties between Ethiopia and Eritrea, Emirati state news agency WAM reported.

The reestablishment of diplomatic ties will have a positive impact on the security and stability of the two countries, said Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in a statement.

He praised the "historic step" taken by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki, adding that the move represents great political wisdom and courage of the two leaders.

The UAE supports sound international relations that seek to promote peace and prosperity, with respect to international law, he added.

             

 

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