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Tuesday, 19 December, 2000, 12:26 GMT
Ethiopia and Eritrea: Peace at last?
Ethiopia and Eritrea are expected to sign a peace agreement in Algiers on Tuesday ending a bloody border conflict which has lasted more that two years and has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
The final deal is meant to ensure hostilities do not resume after the eventual departure of more than 4,000 UN peacekeepers who are currently being deployed.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has said he is "confident and optimistic" of the prospects for peace.
Will this deal finally mean peace for the two countries? Can they live peacefully side-by-side again? How can the close relations these two neighbours once enjoyed be restored?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
What is the point of blaming one another for so many years
when we (Ethiopians and Eriterians) both have huge economic and social instability?
Please, let us focus on our major problems and move on, but not lag behind the rest
of the world. Let this unnecessary war be a great lesson to us all - disaster and disaster.
To follow up the comment from Neil, it should be clear that no one has ever bailed Ethiopia out from its problems. The West is just playing a game, there still is starvation in the country!! In terms of national pride - the West will always disrespect a proud black African nation that never gives in to their demands.
For more than thirty years the Eritrean people have fought for peace. They know the real meaning of peace and the value of it. They asked for it from the beginning and they ask for it now.
Abe, Ethiopia/ USA
To have peace with each other is the will of God.
However, sometimes you have no alternative but to
take up arms to defend yourself and your country
which Ethiopia did when she was invaded by Eritrea.
The important thing is, I hope both sides have learned
a lesson from the past war and will take precaution in
their future actions. May God be added into this peace.
The war was not supposed to happen in the first place and the blame is on both the Eritrean and Ethiopian leaders. Now we should all welcome peace and work together to bring prosperity to the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia. No matter what the politicians want us to believe, despite the artificial border between these two countries, Ethiopians and Eritreans are cousins.
Well, as long as the issue of the Aseb Port gets no appropriate answer, the situation is definitely a time bomb. True reconciliation comes only when Ethiopia possesses the Aseb Administration. After that (only after that!) we may speak about a lasting peace. Otherwise, believe me, war will be there in the region for generations. Beyene Bayissa, Germany
I could not agree more than the secretary general of the United Nations. This war could have been avoidable from the beginning. As an Ethiopian who shares the same history and culture with my fellow Eritreans I am saddened and dismayed with this war. War is not like a football that two teams or nations go for a trophy. Let's everybody be optimistic and give a chance to PEACE.
The people of Ethiopia and Eritrea will live in peace only until Essaias piles up his-arms -for revenge. May the arms sanction time be lengthened until both leaders are removed from their thrones.
Yosief Ghebreyesus, USA
I think the peace process is going to
depend on how fast both sides can
tackle the crucial issues which has to
be addressed. I guess fighting didn't
bring any good for both sides except
draining their limited resources. So
genuine efforts has to be made...
No doubt that the two parties were forced to sign the agreement by the international mediators.
Both are not willing to live peacefully with each other. They will wait for some time until they save money to buy weapons. As long as they are in power, the suffering of
the people of the two counties will continue.
Amanuel Zeccarias, US
Eritrea and Ethiopia have more to gain by being good neighbours and working together for peace and prosperity.
What Eritrean and Ethiopian children need is education and health care.
So long the World Bank and the West take care of the Ethiopian poor and give some millions for arms shopping spree, there is no reason why the minority clique in Ethiopia will not start the war again. No leader in the Ethiopian empire has ever ruled without war. So the survival of the peace will only depend on whether Eritreans are capable of defending themselves against the south.
We are so happy that finally they have peace. But why did the United Nation take so long to make the peace?
To start with, the war is not between the two people Eritrea and Ethiopia, but between the leaders, Melles and Isayas. It is amazing how they can live in peace after sacrificing hundreds of thousands of innocent productive citizens and destroying billions of dollars for their egos. Melles and Issayas, with their cohorts, are the cause for the unrest and bloodshed of the two brotherly people.
Signing for peace is better than nothing.
Keeping the peace is the hardest part.
Whether it means final peace or not we will see in the coming months since the Ethiopian Government is not considered trustworthy. At least it is a good start. These two neighbours have no choice but to live side-by-side peacefully.
They started the war.
They finished the war.
These two criminals belong in prison. They are the winners, we are the losers. God save Eritrea!
As long as the international community feeds Ethiopia's starved and hungry masses, Ethiopia will continue on making wars. This in general has been Ethiopia's history and will continue to be so as long as the international community is not willing to learn from its past experiences. If this trend continues war is just around the corner and this so-called "peace agreement" can only be temporary.
If the people of these two very poor (materially) countries were to be balloted on the peace agreement, I am confident that they would have endorsed it wholeheartedly. That is what matters most. It is the people who have to carry the brunt of poverty, natural disasters and rabid aggression from neighbours. I would not be so hasty as to put too much hope on this deal but I shall remain optimistic that we will sort out our priorities right in the future.
Ethiopia being the most populated country in the horn of Africa feels very frustrated by being a landlocked country. It's neighbors Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti should understand Ethiopia's problem. They should give Ethiopia good service and discount on their port facilities. On the other hand Ethiopia should also know war is not the solution. Ethiopia should open it's large market for investors from Djibouti, Eritrea and Somalia.
Thank God, at last peace is emerging after these unfortunate years. I am sure Eritrea will use this opportunity to resume its reconstruction process once again.
Only demarcation and delimitation are the solutions to the Ethiopia-Eritrea problem. The Ethiopian regime must stop being insincere. No sincerity, no peace.
Eritrea has been saying from day one that this conflict should be settled diplomatically, but the minority government in Ethiopia was not ready. They would sign a document and start the war again.
At last the West can see what was going on. A little bit late, but it is a start.
It would have looked much better had the peace agreement been signed long before going to war.
Lily Sebsibe, USA
This is like an elephant fighting a mouse. Eritrea got no other choice but to please the elephant.
Peace is an elusive concept. I can say a relative peace has been achieved on this deal. To the majority of Ethiopians and Eritreans, indeed this is a good news.
As the prime minister has noted, it will take a long time. That depends mainly on what happens in Eritrea. After all this war was unnecessary and could have been avoided if only the president of Eritrea was ready to listen to the voice of reason than his might and pride.
Araya Berhe Belay, Canada
Perhaps they can start spending
some of the billions that have gone
towards arms on food for their own
people instead of expecting the
west to keep bailing them out.
Yes. Peace will prevail. Because the Eritrean people
and their leadership are peace loving people. As far as living side by side is concerned, time is a healing a factor. By that time, I am not sure whether Ethiopia as we know it will exist or not?
12 Dec 00 | Africa
Horn peace deal to be signed
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