On Tuesday, the Ethiopian government announced that it will accept a peace deal with border country Eritrea, ending a bloody 20-year-old dispute.
Ethiopia’s ruling party The Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRFD) issued a statement saying that it hopes to “create lasting peace among the two Brotherhood members between Eritrea and Ethiopia.”
“Peace for the development of Ethiopia and for the benefit of the people is of the greatest value. Peace is the basis of everything,” the EPRFD wrote.
The two countries entered a border war in 1998, which killed tens of thousands of people and caused thousands of displacements. Although the countries signed the Algiers peace agreement in 2000, the countries remained hostile towards each other.
In the statement, the EPRDF recognised that the border dispute had long-lasting repercussions for both countries’ economies, politics and people. It also recognised that the lack of peace between the two countries has caused turmoil amongst families.
The EPRDF said it believed the permanent solution to the crisis “is the establishment of a healthy relationship between Eritrea and Ethiopia. We are a people connected by blood, culture, language and long history.”
The announcement comes on the same day that Ethiopia announced that it would end its six-month long state of emergency. The country announced a state of emergency in February after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned. The state of emergency gave the government power to restrict certain constitutional rights including freedom of assembly and free expression.
On April 2, Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, promised to end hostilities towards Eritrea during his swearing-in ceremony.
Ethiopia also urged Eritrea to acknowledge Ethiopia’s step towards a peaceful relationship.
“We urge the Eritrean government to take the same position and take our unwavering commitment to peace and stability in the past and to ensure peace and stability in the future between the two brothers.”
Government officials further commented on the statement. Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister’s Office Fitsum Arega wrote on Twitter, “The suffering on both sides is unspeakable because the peace process is deadlocked. This must change for the sake of our common good.”
#Ethiopia & #Eritrea have the most unique cultural, historical & blood ties.The suffering on both sides is unspeakable because the peace process is deadlocked.This must change for the sake of our common good.Our gov’t is expected to take a new initiative to address the stalemate.
— Fitsum Arega (@fitsumaregaa) June 5, 2018
The Eritrea Ministry of Information has not yet commented on Ethiopia’s announcement.