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REGIONAL NEWS / AFRICA Moving toward Resolution Hopeful Signs in an African Situation Similar to the Division of the Koreas By Simon Amare 32 True Peace
ooking back at the origin of the conflict, the Eritrean?Ethiopian War, it was one of several con- flicts in the horn of Africa L region, which took place between the two countries from May 1998 to June 2000. Thereafter, they entered into a state of cold war. The disputed border region named Badme overlaps north- ern Eritrea and southern Ethiopia. The story behind Badme region seems complicated to comprehend. The point is that the population of the region, called Tigrinyas, are living on both sides of the borderline and both nations claim Badme and its inhabi- tants. From a political viewpoint, some people had begun to compare Eritrea with North Korea because of their rather closed political regime. However, in his boldest move since coming to power last April, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, prime minister of Ethiopia, offered in June to make peace with Eritrea after twenty years of conflict in which an estimated eighty thou- A map showing disputed territory, notably Badme, where families have been divided for decades as they are today in the Koreas. Title page:The writer is in a jacket and tie and his wife is in the green dress. sand people have died. The conflict separated a great number of families? parents and children, brothers and Abiy went to Asmara, capital of minister, Yemane Gebremeskel, wrote sisters, and relatives divided as oc- Eritrea, where the prime minister and on Twitter. Hence, in the second phase curred with the two Koreas. his delegation received such a of this peace agreement, President In fact, Eritrea and Ethiopia have welcome that according to Mr. Esti- Afwerki arrived in Ethiopia for a the same culture and the same reli- fanos, the Eritrean ambassador to historic visit to cement peace on July gions and speak the same languages Japan, ��No other head of state had 15, which was less than a week after since long ago in history, to the extent been welcomed in such a way in both nations declared peace. For their that they are bound together through Eritrea.�� part, Ethiopians were lining the main marriage ties. Unfortunately, just Eritreans lined Asmaras streets road from the airport to the city, because of a borderline issue, many with Ethiopian flags to welcome Abiy dressed in white traditional clothes families found themselves discon- with a deeply heartfelt warmth, some and waving palm fronds. During his nected on either side of the border, not shedding tears, wanting even to three-day visit to Ethiopia?a horse, a even able to communicate with one embrace the prime minister in their shield and a spear? the prized pos- another due to all means of commu- arms. Ethiopians could watch the sessions of an Oromo traditional nication being completely cut arrival of Prime Minister Abiy in warrior, were gifts handed to the between the two countries. Asmara on local TV news. visiting Eritrean leader Isaias Afwerki. The Ethiopian side launched At the end of the visit, the two several peace initiatives within those leaders signed a five-point agreement Parallels to the Koreas twenty years but always in vain. ending twenty-year war and restoring This deeply emotional reunion However, Dr. Abiy��s attempt was such relations between them. The summa- between the two countries has seen a surprise this time. No one could ries read as follows: 1) The state of war residents able to communicate to each believe it until the moment Isaias has come to an end. 2) The two other via telephone for the first time Afwerki, the president of Eritrea, nations will forge close political, in twenty years as lines of communi- dispatched a delegation to Addis economic, social, cultural and securi- cation reopened. Furthermore, Direct Ababa, Ethiopia��s capital city, and the ty cooperation; 3) Trade and economic flights resumed within the same African Union also began to under- and diplomatic ties will resume. 4) week. It��s always touching and stand Dr. Abiy��s intent more clearly. The boundary decision will be imple- moving to see families reunited after mented. 5) Both nations will work on a lengthy separation during which no A family reunion regional peace. one knows whether the other was still The Eritrean delegation that came to ��The state of war that existed alive or not. Addis Ababa was met with a great between the two countries has come Both the African Union and the welcome. Just a few days later, Dr. to an end,�� Eritrea��s information European Union agreed that the September 2018 33
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