Ethiopia-Eritrea border rapprochement: Rewards and responsibilities

    Addis Ababa’s recent decision to accept the EEBC ruling is a great opportunity for sustainable peace after two decades of conflict between the two neighbors. A peaceful settlement of this stalemate will yield positive dividends. It would solve the border frustration between the two states and increases cross-border trade between communities.

    Since Abiy Ahmed assumed the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s office this April – following years-long anti-government protests – the country has embarked on key reforms including privatization of state companies, dismissal of army chiefs and port deals.

    Earlier this month, Ethiopia declared that it wants to end a long-running border dispute with Eritrea. In a move that caught the region completely off guard, the country said it would fully accept the Algiers Agreement signed on Dec. 12, 2000. The agreement had established a special boundary commission after a 1998-2000 brutal war between the two countries took some 100,000 lives and displaced around a million others.

    The Algiers agreement laid down the two countries would accept the decision of the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) as final and binding. However, Ethiopia failed to honor its commitment after the EEBC’s decision awarded Badme – the flashpoint town of the conflict – to Eritrea. The two neighbors have been in a state of a “No war-No peace” situation since.

    On June 20, Eritrean President Asaias Afwerki announced that he will send a delegation to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, to “gauge current developments” in the region following Ethiopia’s peace proposal.

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