Ethiopia and Eritrea declare end of war

Ethiopia and Eritrea sign peace agreements. 

The successful high-level meeting between the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea has laid the foundations for a new era of peace between the two countries which fought a devastating war between 1998-2000 with the loss nearly 100,000 lives.

Until now both sides have refused to endorse the terms of the United Nations brokered peace deal which provided for the transfer of border land between the two countries, but most importantly the transfer to Eritrea of the key town of Badme, at present considered to be part of Ethiopia in the northern Tigray region.

The agreement signed in Asmara on 9 July between Ethiopia's prime minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea's president Isaias Afewerki has established that embassies will be re-opened in both countries, air services and telecommunications connections will be re-established and that Ethiopia will be allowed to use and help develop the Eritrean port of Massawa. Ethiopia's access to the sea has been one Ahmed's key foreign policy strategies since he became prime minister in April.

However the transfer of Badme will not be popular among the ethnic Tigray who until Ahmed, from the Omoro, became prime minister held most of the key political and military posts in the country.
The new era may also herald changes in Eritrea which has always used the continuing border dispute to maintain a state of permanent military conscription and one of the most repressive political regimes in Africa. It has been largely thanks to this permanent state of cold war along the border that so many Eritreans have tried to emigrate to Europe.

While the political climate is improving on Ethiopia's norther border there are reports of over 800,000 ethnic Gedeo in the southern region being displaced by inter-ethnic violence between them and the neighbouring Omoro.

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