“The war between the two countries has come to an end,” Twitter Eritrea’s information minister. This is a joint peace agreement signed with the former arch enemy of Ethiopia after the country has been under decades of conflict.
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven (S).Photo: Pontus Lundahl / TT
“It is very important for the two countries and the Horn of Africa, the region as a whole, and we expect and hope that this is true. If Sweden can do something in the process that will make it easier, then we’ll look at that opportunity,” says Prime Minister Stefan Löfven (S) on the peace message to TT’messanger at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Ethiopia and Eritrea are no longer formally in conflict with each other. On Monday, neighboring countries announced in a joint statement that the state of war was over.
“A new era of friendship and peace has begun,” said Eritrea’s information minister, Yemane Gebremeskel, when Monday’s agreement was signed.
“Both countries will now work to promote close cooperation in political, economic, social, cultural and security fields,” he continued.
The peace agreement was signed by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki in Eritrea’s capital Asmara. It happened only one day after the historic agreement signed on Sunday, which includes normalized relations and open border crossings.
According to Eritrea’s information minister, the environment of the state dinner with the two leaders was “mesmerizing”.
“We agreed that airlines would start operating, ports would be accessible, that people can move between the two countries and embassies would be opened,” said Isaias Afwerki, according to AFP news agency.
The earlier disagreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia is mostly connected to the period 1998-2000 when about 100,000 people were killed. The fighting was about where the border would be drawn between the two countries. The former intelligence official, Abiy Ahmed, who took office in April, is considered to be a major contributing factor to the tears of war.
On Monday evening, UN Secretary General António Guterre visited Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa for a meeting with Abiy Ahmed. Guterres said in connection with the visit that UN sanctions against neighboring Eritrea could be lifted due to the peace agreement, reports Reuters.
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström (S), like Löfven, expresses hopes for the agreement.
“Sweden warmly welcomes the agreement between Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Two decades of conflict and distrust are now coming to an end, and the agreement opens a historic opportunity for peace and cooperation between the two countries, which is crucial for a positive and sustainable development throughout the Horn of Africa,” she writes in a statement.
Wallström adds that Sweden is ready to contribute to the agreement with the UN.
SvD Published July 9, 2018