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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.


Your reaction


The war between Ethiopia and Eritrea was beyond comprehension

Tamrat, USA
War is always a terrible thing to go into but the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea was beyond comprehension. There was no reason to justify this war. It was a result of the stubborn ego of some politicians. Other than the immeasurable human and economic loss, this war has created a wound that is going to take some time to heal in the relationship between the people of these two nations.
Tamrat, USA

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.
Samson, Canada

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.
Ermias, UK

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.
ERE, USA


I do not think this peace agreement will hold for too long

Abe, Ethiopia/ USA
I do not think this peace agreement will hold for too long. There is still a deep hatred amongst both people. The leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia are both egoistic, stubborn fools who do not care about their people. Eritrea especially can't be trusted as this is not the first time they have created conflict with their neighbours. Eritrea cannot survive without the much bigger Ethiopian economy. What do you expect from a country that is governed by the military?
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. hws
HWS, USA


Ethiopia and Eritrea should learn from the past

Aman, England
Ethiopia and Eritrea should learn from the past and continue to work together for growth and development. At the same time, the mentality and attitude within the leadership of both countries needs to change.
Aman, England

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.
Hailu Assefa, Wonji, Ethiopia

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


Peace treaty, that doesn't solve the fundamental problems brings no peace

Peter, Germany
Peace treaty, that doesn't solve the fundamental problems brings no peace. But the chance being mediated and paid by the EU will bring peace in reach to both.
Peter, 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.
Alamaw Amare, Canada

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.
Elias, USA


The peace deal will eventually lead toward unification of the two countries

Yosief Ghebreyesus, USA
Despite of the border conflict, I believe Ethiopians and Eritreans belong to each other. Deep down, people of both countries believe that they are one people and the same. My feeling is the peace deal will eventually lead toward unification of the two countries.
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...
Brigadier General Lou, USA

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.
Getu, USA


Peace that comes by outside pressure can never be a lasting peace

Amanuel Zeccarias, US
Peace that comes by outside pressure can never be a lasting peace. There will never be peace as long as the two leaders remain in power. Everyone knows one of them has to go if Ethiopia and Eritrea are to reconcile. Prime Minister Meles made it clear that he will never reconcile with president Isayas. I hope Isayas knows what his southern neighbour is planning for him.
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.
Walday, Canada

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.
Tsehaye/Canada,

We are so happy that finally they have peace. But why did the United Nation take so long to make the peace?
Yonathan Michael, US

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.
Arsema Hailu, USA


A true and lasting peace comes from within

Ezra, USA
A true and lasting peace comes from within. The peace agreement the two countries signed came through pressure from the international community. If these two countries had not responded, their leaders understood very well that they would end up isolated and suffer more economic, social and political devastation. Will this peace last long? Maybe!
Ezra, USA

Signing for peace is better than nothing. Keeping the peace is the hardest part.
Wolde Tewolde, Washington DC, USA

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.
Solomon Ghebreab, USA

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!
Eritrea for Eritreans, Germany

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.
Bereket Asefaw Berhe, Canada


I question the legitimacy of the agreement

W.Tadesse, England/Ethiopia
Good, we all love and want peace. But, I question the legitimacy of the agreement. All the Eritrean and Ethiopian question should be first put to the people, and then elected governments act upon it.
W.Tadesse, England/Ethiopia

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.
Debeb D, United Kingdom

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.
Efrem Abrham, US


I hope that with time both people will work towards a common goal of development and trade

Addis, Ethiopia/ Canada
They say time heals all wounds so I hope that with time both people will work towards a common goal of development and trade. If Germany and the rest of Europe can work together, I think Ethiopia and Eritrea will definitely form some sort of federation or economic union once the initial hatred and suspicion has subsided. All we need is peace.
Addis, Ethiopia/Canada

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.
Medhanie, USA

Only demarcation and delimitation are the solutions to the Ethiopia-Eritrea problem. The Ethiopian regime must stop being insincere. No sincerity, no peace.
Teamrat, Canada


Let us think of those who actually fought and died in battle

Samson, USA
I hope this peace agreement ends the hostility between Ethiopians and Eritrians. What have we accomplished from a brutal war between two of the poorest countries in the world? I hope people from both sides understand the importance of peace in these two countries and move on. Let us think of those who actually fought and died in battle. They suffered more than any politician or 'I wanna be one' It's time to walk the walk with the rest of world. Peace to all of us!
Samson, USA

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.
Concerned man, Holland

It would have looked much better had the peace agreement been signed long before going to war.
Kibreab, Eritrea


Whether a lasting peace has been obtained or not is questionable

Lily Sebsibe, US
While the signing of a peace agreement is a step in the right direction, the motivating factor behind the two leaders agreeing to sign must also be taken into consideration if a long-lasting peace is to prevail. If both Meles and Isaas are responding to international pressure, i.e. to sign before the end of the Clinton administration and to ensure that foreign aid begins to flow into their respective countries, as we have seen in Ethiopia with a $400 million reconstruction loan from the World Bank, then whether a lasting peace has been obtained or not is questionable.
Lily Sebsibe, USA

This is like an elephant fighting a mouse. Eritrea got no other choice but to please the elephant.
Abdifatah, Somalia

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.
Sol,


I strongly urge the Eritrean government seriously to take this peace process into account

Araya Berhe Belay, Canada
Peace is good for both sides if only truly implemented. Because of this incident how many people are displaced from their areas, destroyed properties and of course wasted resources for weapons, let us feed our people generously. I strongly urge the Eritrean government seriously to take this peace process into account. This only 10-year-old government is destabilising the region by creating conflicts with Yemen, Djibouti, Sudan and at last with Ethiopia. I hope this peace process will last forever.
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.
Neil, England

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?
Kidane Habteselassie, USA

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See also:

12 Dec 00 | Africa
Horn peace deal to be signed


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