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Friday, 9 June, 2000, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Can there be peace in the Horn?
Ethiopia's prime minister has said that, as far as his country is concerned, its two-year border war with Eritrea is at an end.
Eritrea, on the other hand, says there can be no ceasefire until Addis Ababa withdraws all its forces from Eritrean territory.
Meanwhile the two countries are trying to resolve the conflict at peace talks in Algiers.
What chance is there that these former allies will reach agreement? What steps should be taken to end the dispute, and how can the international community help restore peace to the Horn of Africa?
This debate has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The international community will not solve our problems. They are a lot more than border conflict. We need to break the hate wall between Ethiopians and Eritreans.
It seems the international community, particularly the West, always generally shrugs off African conflicts and treats the virtual massacres that are occurring with an air of indifference and disinterest. When conflicts occur in Eastern Europe or in the Middle East, it seems the international community cannot express its sadness enough nor can it overextend its generosity.
Iyob, African, UK
There could be and will be peace between these two countries. However, it would help the people of the two nations, if reporters concentrated on the causes and effects of the war as they see/ understand it instead of trying to patronise the people by "reminding" the world that these are the two poorest countries at every opportunity.
This pointless war must be stopped by any means for the sake of the poor people of both countries.
Hermon Tekle, USA.
We all try to blame the international communities for their silence. Let's not depend on anyone to solve our own problems. Let us try to recognise that we have the ability to unite as people of two nations to solve the existing problem.
This senseless war is not an Ethiopian/ Eritrean only phenomenon. It is all over the impoverished nations across the globe. Though the war in large part has losers, it has created many many benefactors - those countries engaged in arms trade.
Why can't we just get along? Let's put the past behind us and look forward to the future. The future of the next generation. Let there be peace and harmony in the Horn please.
W. Yekaalo, Germany
The two countries have had enough troubles and misery for years. All they deserve this time is peace and prosperity.
The war between Ethiopia and Eritrea will have a horrible outcome in the near/ far future, especially for Eritrea, where 10% of the total population is engaged in this outrageous war. I don't think the leaders of these two countries care about the consequences, but in few years to come, there may be no country left to govern
It is a shame that the international community, especially the UN and the United States, let this senseless bloodshed continue. It is an issue that should have been resolved face to face and by legal means. As an Eritrean who has two of my young brothers at the front line, I strongly believe no Eritrean or Ethiopian mother should lose her son/ daughter to this war. Nobody knows the bitterness of war more than the Eritrean people.
Yesak Jacob, USA
I think the root problems are deeper than what seems to be a simple conflict over borders. They cover trade and access to the sea, among other things. All issues have to be brought to the table and addressed in an equitable manner to mitigate the current hostilities and bring about long term healing.
The war between Eritrea and Ethiopia is just like fighting between two sons over their father's assets. If both Eritrea and Ethiopia cannot solve their own problem, let OAU come up with a solution.
Tesfay, Eritrea/ Sweden
It is really surprising to see animalism in Ethiopia with the cover of sovereignty
I wonder why the International community fails to condemn the aggressor!
In my opinion, it is the international community who will be accountable for those who lost their lives and for the damage of property. It shows that the western loss interest towards
Africa and the so called third world.
This war is between the two leaders.it is not the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea
Peace could be there, if and when Ethiopian rulers learn to understand and take in to account "Life is Life" whether you are 64 million or 4 million. Human life is not some thing you need to compare numerically like any man-made resources.
Please stop and think on how many peoples' life you are playing the most senseless wars rather than putting the lost of life in percentage to play down the human suffering. Life is Life!
The problem of two countries will be solved by the sole concept of regionalism and mutual and economic integration. Unless they do recognize these sprit they couldn't have able to challenge the current prevailing problems such as drought, deadly diseases.
The only way to stop the war is by educating the people that there are other means of settling disputes such as legal arbitration and mutual neighbourhood respect.
Fanus Haile, The Netherlands
How can there be peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia,
while Ethiopia is still within Eritrean territory
and bombing water depots, electricity buildings, hotels (in Barentu)
and the airport of Asmara- all civil targets!?
For the leadership in Asmara, the war is all about fulfilling promises that couldn't be delivered. And that is, "economic prosperity". The leadership totally relied on its former comrades across the border to bring its dream of building the "Singapore of Africa". Upon realising that this wasn't achievable under the circumstances it then decided to lash out its war making machine upon its neighbour to distract the attention of the hard working people of Eritrea. This nation is blessed with people of strong determination but not wise political leaders.
As an Ethiopian, I have the following to say. The root cause of the problem is the extreme hatred Isayas has towards Ethiopia and especially towards Tigreans. It dates back to 19th century history when Kings from Tigray region used to administer that area which is found north of Mereb.
Per Nielsen, USA
I'm an Ethiopian girl. I always pray to God to end this war. All the world people try to stop this war immediately. Otherwise you can imagine how much people will suffer both from the war and famine. All who believe in God must pray to God. I hope he will do something about it.
The only way to stop the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea is by uniting the two countries and demolishing the wall of hate built by the whites during the colonel era to weaken Ethiopia. The people of both countries are the same.
Peace could be achieved if and when the Ethiopians learn to recognise Eritrean independence and sovereignty. If, on the other hand, Ethiopians continue to have the illusions that Eritrea is or should be part of Ethiopia, then that means war. It is high time that the elite of Ethiopia and their minority regime in Addis Ababa realise that they will never re-colonise Eritrea under the pretext of a border war.
Leadership does not mean always fighting. Actually that is the simplest answer. These people cannot even run a family, let alone a country. Look at the bigger picture first please. Learn to provide peace and prosperity to your people.
Who is gaining out of this war? Not the Ethiopians or the Eritreans, but the Western countries who sell weapons. Is UN doing something about this war? They claim to be doing so but aren't really, as their interest is not in Africa.
Both the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia have been short-changed by their leaders. We are the people that should never have been divided for the exact same problems. One leader from Eritrea and/or Ethiopia should have ruled the whole region. To most Ethiopians, the Eritrean leader is a preacher of hate and bitterness. He is like the leader of the Confederates in the American Civil War who has achieved his goal.
Jon Livesey, USA
We, our allies and former enemies sell arms to the poor countries of the world and then sit back and wonder why they fight. If there is a famine we run a little video on the news and send some food.
I don't think we really care.
As long as the two leaders are not addressing the economic problems that face these nations and as long as the supply of arms from the Western countries continues to flow, there will not be an end to this conflict and the suffering of innocent children and women.
There cannot be peace in the Horn until the UN, the West and the US take strict military measures.
The current war has some deep-rooted problems and there simply is not going to be a quick fix.
A long-lasting solution will come only when both Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders recognise that both countries cannot afford war. The fanning of hatred should stop because we are condemning not only the current but also future generations to endless war.
For as long as Western governments are providing a convenient supply of arms and ammunition it is hard to see the war ever ending.
The problem between Ethiopia and Eritrea is deep rooted. When Eritrea was part of Ethiopia, it was a local problem. Now it is a war between two independent countries.
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