Ethiopia’s governing coalition announced on Tuesday that it will accept and implement the peace deal with Eritrea from 2000 that stopped the 1998-2000 border war. It is still unclear how Eritrea is going to respond. Petros Tesfagiorgis, prominent Eritrean writer, stated that we should use this window of opportunity to create a powerful peace movement.
A deadly border dispute
From 1998 to 2000, Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a war over border tensions. This border dispute left an estimated 80 000 people dead, making it Africa’s deadliest border war.
In 2000 both countries signed a peace agreement, known as the Algiers accord, but Ethiopia refused to accept de ruling of the border commission when it came to the demarcation. The border commission had awarded Eritrea the border town Badme, which Ethiopia objected to. Ethiopia refused to withdraw its troops out of the disputed areas. The Eritrean government accused Ethiopia of forcefully occupying their territory and said that there would be no resolution until Ethiopia would withdraw their troops from Badme.
This led to 18 years of hostility between both countries with regular border clashes, with most recently a clash in 2016 in which hundreds were killed.
A peace agreement
On Tuesday 5 June, Ethiopia announced that they would accept the peace deal with Eritrea from 2000. They stated that they would also accept the findings of the border commission and pull out of Badme.
“The Eritrean government should take the same stand without any prerequisite and accept our call to bring back the long-lost peace of the two brother nations as it was before,” said, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the governing party of Ethiopia in a statement on Facebook.
In his inaugural address, the new prime minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, vowed that he would seek peace with Eritrea because he wished to solve the problem.
It is still unclear how Eritrea is going to respond. Petros Tesfagiorgis, prominent Eritrean writer, called in an article on Eritreahub for Eritreans of the diaspora to come on the streets in support of the peace proposal and use this moment to initiate a powerful peace movement.