Eritrea welcomes Ethiopia’s olive branch, to send delegation to Addis Ababa

Eritrea's president broke weeks of silence on Wednesday to respond positively to conciliatory overtures from bitter foe Ethiopia, raising hopes of a fresh start in the Horn of Africa. A brutal, fruitless border conflict between the

Eritrea’s president broke weeks of silence on Wednesday to respond positively to conciliatory overtures from bitter foe Ethiopia, raising hopes of a fresh start in the Horn of Africa.

A brutal, fruitless border conflict between the two countries ended nearly two decades ago. Since then, both have maintained a war footing with shots occasionally fired, and backed each other’s rebels.

Their long cold war has stymied economic development, frozen political relations and helped justify domestic repression — but it may now be thawing, thanks to an unprecedented concession from Ethiopia, long demanded by Eritrea.

On June 5, new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that his country would at last abide by a 2002 international ruling that gave the disputed town of Badme, and other territory, to Eritrea.

On Wednesday, Eritrea’s 72-year-old president, Isaias Afwerki, a military leader who has ruled since 1993, responded cautiously but positively to Ethiopia’s olive branch.

“We will send a delegation to Addis Ababa to gauge current developments directly and in depth as well as to chart out a plan for continuous future action,” Isaias said in a Martyrs’ Day speech commemorating those killed in the drawn-out struggle for separation from Ethiopia.

It is unclear when the delegation will travel to Ethiopia, but Rashid Abdi, Horn of Africa director at the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank in Nairobi, said a glittering opportunity was within reach.

“Both countries should seize this historic chance to engage in serious dialogue to find a lasting peace settlement to the border conflict,” he said.

Abiy’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, said the Ethiopia leader welcomed the “positive response” and “expressed his readiness to welcome warmly and with considerable goodwill the Eritrean delegation”.

Isaias stopped short of calling it a peace delegation and had bitter words for the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) — a faction of Ethiopia’s ruling ethnic coalition that wields influence in both politics and security.

“Ethiopia is now at a turning point,” he said. “(…) Although it will require time and efforts to remove the TPLF’s toxic and malignant legacy and to bring about a congenial climate, the positive direction that has been set in motion is crystal clear.”

Isaias warned some hardliners in Ethiopia would seek “the perpetuation of tension with Eritrea” and to frustrate efforts towards “a durable solution to the senseless border conflict that they unleashed”.

Rapid change

The Red Sea nation of Eritrea was once part of Ethiopia and comprised its entire coastline until 1993 when it voted for independence from its southern neighbour, rendering Ethiopia landlocked.

In 1998 a disagreement over the demarcation of their shared border sparked war, leaving about 80,000 people dead. A UN-backed boundary commission in 2002 divided up contested territory between the two countries, but Ethiopia rejected the ruling.

Isaias has long justified restrictive rule, punishing military conscription and the jailing of dissidents as necessities to defend itself against its much larger neighbour.

His authoritarian leadership has left his country diplomatically isolated and burdened by sanctions, and triggered an exodus of Eritreans, many of them making the dangerous migration to Europe.

A potential thaw in relations with the United States too was signalled in April when Donald Yamamoto, President Donald Trump’s top Africa diplomat, paid a surprise visit to Asmara.

Abiy, 41, has moved fast since his April swearing-in to end years of anti-government protests and maintain fast but faltering economic growth.

He has released jailed politicians and journalists, admitted that security forces tortured dissidents, moved to liberalise the state-controlled economy, backed down in the long-running dispute with Eritrea and embarked on an energetic diplomatic tour of the region.

(AFP)

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25 COMMENTS
  • Gura June 21, 2018

    tesfay, your comment makes more sense than some what some retard are saying:

    “Issaias Afaf has no choice but to bow to the Ethiopians. He already knows that Eritrea is lonely and isolated and under UN sanctions, even the Arabs and Sudan, though he speaks their Arabic with his stinky azz do not give a shiit to his bowing to them hundred times.
    The Weyanes had managed to isolate and punish him hard. Sudan has closed its borders with Eritrea completely, so Issaias Afaf has no choice, and this, PM Abiy knows this very well.
    What will Issaias do? To survive this period, he will bow to Ethiopia and kiss PM Abiy’s azz. He has no choice.
    This way, Issaias Afaf will negotiate every square meter. He will hand the Erob territory, the Shimejana and Tserona lands, plus he will give Ethiopia a far better deal and lease on Assab than what Djibouti or Sudan or Somaliland are getting. In short, in order to survive, Issaias will unwillingly talk to Ethiopia.
    Like it or not, Issais will enter into Zete with Ethiopia. He has no power or army to take back any square centimeter under the Weyanes’ control by force, so the Afaf has to talk to Ethiopia but the sad story of Eritreans, in particular the misery of the Tigrinya christian Eritreans will worsen.”

  • Michael Tesfamariam June 21, 2018

    Could peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia exacbate human rights conditions in Eritrea? Definitely! Initially, the regime in Eritrea didn’t swiftly welcome when PM Abiy Ahmed Shek Biladen of Ethiopia was willing to hand Badme back to Eritrea. Because, Issais had first to come up with the following major conditional action plan that will eventually compel Ethiopia to (1) stop accepting any Eritrean asylum seekers entering the country, and if they did so they should be tied up and sent back to Eritrea.
    (2) To refrain any cooperation with any Eritrean opposition, though I doubt such opposition exists. (3) Ethiopia should be able to help Eritrea improving its image at international arena, specifically to force Ethiopia to talk the US and it’s European allies to change their position against Eritrea, example lifting sanctions. (4) To push Ethiopian PM to use his religious ties with Gulf nations namely Turkey and Saudi to accelerate their Islimasation project in Eritrea and Ethiopia, by doing so, Isaais will likely avoid any possible punishment for his endless and coldblooded crimes. Issais and his deformed wife Saba is now working with this incompetent and inexperienced little Muslim PM Abiy Ahmed Shek Biladen to laying out a condition for all Deki Akoleguzay colonels who have successfully implemented Issais’s instructions to exterminate Deki Hamassien for the past 17 years. There is well documentary and testimonial evidence that Deki Akoleguzay cadres are determined to to eliminating the youth of Hamassien off the country so Muslims, Amhara Akologuzay can live together at the expense. I hope and prey Philipos will soon recognise the trap that is now being set up by the three axis of evil namely Amhara, Muslim and Akoleguzay stooges, and take action to gun down Issaia and his brothers-in law from Akeleguzay.

    • Gura June 21, 2018

      ነፋጥ እንታይ ኣፍሊጥካ። ኤርትርውያን ኣብ ኢትዮጵያ ይኹን ኣብ ዝኾነ ካልእ ሃገር ፖለቲካዊ ዑቕባ ናይ ምሕታት መሰሎም ብህዝቢ ዓለም ይኹን ብመንግስቲ ኢትዮጵያ ወትሩ ክዕቀብ እዩ። ኤርትራውያን ብሰንኪ ባርባራዊ ምሕደራ ስርዓት ህግደፍ ፣ ብፍላይ ብሄረ ትግርኛ ንሃገራዊ ባርነትን ዓቢድነትን ህግደፍ ፈንፊኖም ሃጽ ኢሎም ምህዳሞም ክቕጽል እዩ። ኤርትራ እትረብሕ ሃገር እንተኾይና ፣ ንስኻ ካብቲ ምስ ቤተሰብካን ዓባይካን እተሓባእካሉ ኣሜሪካ ጠንጢንካ ንስርዓት ህግደፍ ኬድካ ኣገልግሎ።

    • Simon G. June 22, 2018

      Michael Tesfamariam,
      Is that you Semere Habtemariam, behind the curtain? ክብርጀነካ ጀሚሩ ሙሽ?
      ——————–
      Issais and his deformed wife Saba is now working with this incompetent and inexperienced little Muslim PM Abiy Ahmed Shek Biladen to laying out a condition for all Deki Akoleguzay colonels who have successfully implemented Issais’s instructions to exterminate Deki Hamassien for the past 17 years. There is well documentary and testimonial evidence that Deki Akoleguzay cadres are determined to to eliminating the youth of Hamassien off the country so Muslims, Amhara Akologuzay can live together at the expense. እዚኣስ ከኣ ሓዳስ ምህዞ!
      በል ምሕረት የውርደልካ ‘ምበር ‘ዝስ ሕማም’ዩ።
      Go see a Dr. I would say you will be diagnosed with sickness of lack of Akele-Guzayizm or Muslimism.
      I can order you perfect medicine:
      Step one: go to Eritrea, from wherever you are rsiding
      Step two: go to Emba Soyra, since the residents are Muslims and they are in Akele-Guzay
      Step three: climb to the top of mountain. Caution: do it during night but slowly
      step four: take a break for about 2 hours and try to remember from your childhood till now
      Step five: walk to the edge
      Step six: face to the north
      step seven: make your prayer
      step eight: Jump.
      Step nine: Ooooops, forgot to tell you to check your parachute. I guess, you didn’t have it. Damn! I guess that’s why they call it “ዓለም ትችዓተ ዘትመልእ ዓሰርተ”
      I hope it was quick. You are now free of those people and cured!

      • Wedi Hagher June 22, 2018

        Brother Simon

        With all due respect, you are replying to the wrong person.
        Tesfay or Teclay is a little man who appears to be of Tigreyan decent.
        He is the one who insults people from Akele, Muslims, Arab .. etc. on this forum.
        Now he is insulting Dr. Abey Ahmed because the man is doing something without consulting with “Weyane” first.
        You may not agree with Semere on certain issues, which is perfectly normal, but please don’t associate him with someone who hates Eritrea.
        Respectfully.

        • Simon G. June 23, 2018

          Wedi Hagher,
          Thanks for your polite and reasonable advise!
          If I am not mistaken though, this is not the infamous Teclay, the HGDF/Woyane of Tembien.
          This is Eritrean guy who hates one region and religion. This kind of people are worse than the Teclays. At least people are aware enough of the Teclays.
          People like Semre H/mariam and the Medrekites are the trigger for civil war. If we are silent now for people like those, we are inviting for another 50 yrs of mess, probably worse than what we had.
          Remember, Tadese Kidane have asked this group in details and you know what they did? They shut down their website for few weeks and then came up with a changed format. They don’t even bother to answer him.
          If the Colonel/General in question is from Akele-Guzay, they say he was helping his people from his Awraja
          If he is from Hamassien, then they say he did this and that but never say he was helping his Awraja.
          To me, this group is working with HGDF, covertly.
          HGDF is killing all people of Eritrea, with no exception but these are worse than them. People need to open their eyes.
          We can’t be fooled, again!
          Eritrea belongs to all of us. You hate one region (or religion) you hate us all! This is what we should stand up.

    • AHMED SALEH !!! June 23, 2018

      Does this new development frustrate Ayte M. Tesfamariam ?
      What goes around comes around .
      The hatred you guys tried to spread at the expense of others started to collapse by courageous Ethiopian youth uprisings . Amhara , Hamassien , Akeleguzay , Muslims , Christians kind of talks will backfire upon you for long time . Do not blame nobody
      since you seed negative influences by yourselves .
      Reality taught us that worst enemy of Eritrea come from TIGRAI originated opportunists .
      ‘ we TIGRIGNA speaking people are brothers ” blabla ………………….. BULLS**T .

    • Amanuel June 23, 2018

      Wow, you seem to know more secret than iseyas himself. Are you a witch?

      The agreement mandated no precondition, but acceptance with out any condition and implementation.

    • Amanuel June 23, 2018

      Do not worry Mike!

      Soon both hamassien and akeleguzay will demand constitutional rule and freedom! Are you scared? Well you can see what happen to weyane. No shot fired, just natural people’s demand for freedom melted away weyane. That is inevitable.
      You see weyane and hgdf are the same in everything. Spread hatred, create suspicion divide and rule forever. It did not work in Ethiopia. It will not work in eritrea too.
      Mike you also need not worry about one awraja rulling eritrea. That happens only if all the others are divided, even then it is temporary like the minority rule in Ethiopia that came to a halt fast.

  • Sol June 22, 2018

    Yes wedi Hager, the past two weeks assenna remained clean because Tekhlay was on update mission on the new developments by his operators now he came back with all his dirty commodities.

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