Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Talking Point
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
Forum 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

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.


Your reaction


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

Alula, US/ Ethiopia
As it is obvious that a border conflict can only be solved at the negotiating table and not militarily, the whole world should ask why Eritrea invaded the area it's claiming instead of going to an international tribune.
Wondwossen, Germany

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.
Brian, Winnipeg/ Ethoiopia

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.
Alula, US/ Ethiopia


This pointless war must be stopped by any means for the sake of the poor people of both countries

Alazar, Sweden
As long as the USA is involved in this so-called "peace process", there will never be peace in the Horn of Africa. Anthony Lake has been shuttling for two years between the two countries trying to bring peace. So far he has come up with nothing. However, the Kosovo problem was solved within a couple of months.
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.
Tedros, Eritrea

This pointless war must be stopped by any means for the sake of the poor people of both countries.
Alazar, Sweden


Let us try to recognise that we have the ability to unite as people of two nations to solve the existing problem

Erina Natnaeya, Eritrea/ USA
Neither of these countries can live with war. Both need to agree something quickly so they can concentrate on their own 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.
Erina Natnaeya, Eritrea/ USA

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.
Lucastek, Ethiopia

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.
Semere, Eritrea-Ethio


The two countries have had enough troubles and misery for years. All they deserve this time is peace and prosperity

Kidane, USA
One major problem in this conflict is the military and political intervention of some "global gamblers" such as the USA and Russia. They are following their own interests. According to their political and military calculations one side may effectively come out as a winner and possible regional power. (Such as Nigeria in West Africa, South Africa, Egypt in North Africa or Kenya in East Africa). Maybe, Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa? This calculation is very short-sighted and for the people in the region a horror scenario.
W. Yekaalo, Germany

The two countries have had enough troubles and misery for years. All they deserve this time is peace and prosperity.
Kidane, USA

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
Daniel, Ethiopia/USA

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.
Habtom Hadgu, Boston, Massachusetts, USA


A demilitarised zone should be created between the two nations and a peace keeping force deployed to the border area

Yesak Jacob, USA
The differences between the Ethiopian people and the Eritrean people are irreconcilable. There is too much bad blood between the two. A demilitarised zone should be created between the two nations and a peace keeping force deployed to the border area.
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.
Tesfaye, USA/Ethiopia

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.
Aklilu Agonafer, Ethiopia/USA


The insanity of this war has to come to an end. There are no winners, only losers

Tesfay, Eritrea/ Sweden
The insanity of this war has to come to an end. There are no winners, only losers. Everything could have been solved with talk and discussion without a single person getting hurt. The Eritrean and the Ethiopian people have other more important problems, such as AIDS, poverty and famine to deal with. We have the same history, same culture, same traditions, even the same language. It just doesn't make any sense to kill each other over a piece of land.
Tesfay, Eritrea/ Sweden

It is really surprising to see animalism in Ethiopia with the cover of sovereignty
Dedeb Meriouch, Ethiopia

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.
Tsegamulat Adane, Ethiopia, Addis Ababa

This war is between the two leaders.it is not the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea
Dan, USA

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!
Redae T., Italy

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.
Milite, Kuwait


The only way to stop the war is by educating the people that there are other means of settling disputes

Fanus Haile, The Netherlands
I think, the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea have a common enemy, "poverty" that needs to be eradicated. Both countries should spend resources to fight poverty by educating their citizens.
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!?
I think Ethiopia wants to destroy Eritrea's economy. And till they reach their aim they won't ever stop this war voluntarily.
Harnet, Germany


Running a country takes more wisdom and skills than fighting wars

Mohamed, Tanzania
I think there no easy solution for this deep-rooted problem. The accumulated hatred between these two peoples is immense. Mr. Isaias Afeworki should understand (or shall be made to understand) that he is punishing his people first and foremost. He must be told clearly that running a country takes more wisdom and skills than fighting wars. Fighting wars is easy, building and developing a country is harder.
Mohamed, Tanzania

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.
Fikru, USA

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.
Issayas sees Tigreans as the historical enemy of Eritrea. Issayas, whose education doesn't go beyond high school education, thinks of those days. He is trying to get his revenge. If there is going to be a change of government or at least Issaya in Eritrea, then peace will prevail.
Yonas Michael, Ethiopia


The international community needs to draw the borders fairly and maybe the UN should send in troops to monitor the peace

Per Nielsen, USA
Ethiopia just needs to leave Eritrea, and Eritrea has to promise not to start another aggression. The international community needs to draw the borders fairly and maybe the UN should send in troops to monitor the peace. That seems the best move in my opinion.
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.
Elizabeth, Ethiopia

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.
Eyob, Kuwait

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.
John Tesfazghi, Eritrea/USA


I am optimistic that some day the people will reunite, establish a democratic system of government and live in peace

Asfaw, USA
Let's face the truth. With all its recent military efforts, do you honestly think that the Ethiopian government will accept the peace plans that will be imposed by the international community, including losing some of its land? Likewise, it is difficult to expect the Eritrean government to give up some of the land it has occupied for the past two years.
Nebiyou, UK

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.
Robert M, USA,

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.
Ethiopia Tikdem, USA


Who is gaining out of this war? Not the Ethiopians or the Eritreans, but the Western countries who sell weapons

Ethiopia Tikdem
In their own mutual interest the two countries must be able to coexist. Their economies, culture and history are all interwoven. It is the leaders that try to split them because it is power and a way of life for them. As an Ethiopian, I do not feel that there is a deep rooted animosity between the two peoples. After all, even Isaias and Meles were comrades in arms until "yesterday". I am optimistic that some day the people will reunite, establish a democratic system of government and live in peace. This may take some time but it's possible, not withstanding the propaganda of hate the leaders are spreading, which could be detrimental even for the younger generation
Asfaw, USA

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.
Heruy, Ethiopia/America


We can waste our time trying to turn Ethiopia into Suffolk, or we can simply let them live with low-level warfare until their own culture calls a halt

Jon Livesey, USA
When a problem seems to be intractable, it is time to wonder if we are asking the right question. This really isn't about ending a war between two modern Western states, where governments control the level of military activity, and a peace deal can be relied upon. Maybe, instead we should all just accept that throughout the Third World a certain level of armed conflict is simply a normal part of daily life. So many Third World inhabitants identify themselves as warriors that warfare is as ubiquitous as soccer. We can waste our time trying to turn Ethiopia into Suffolk, or we can simply let them live with low-level warfare until their own culture calls a halt.
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.
Reynard, USA


There cannot be peace in the Horn until the UN, the West and the US take strict military measures

Mohammad Ali Asif, Saudi Arabia
The only solution is to build a boundary like the Berlin Wall or the Great Wall of China.
Tesfay, Canada

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.
Hanna, USA

There cannot be peace in the Horn until the UN, the West and the US take strict military measures.
Mohammad Ali Asif, Saudi Arabia

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.
Sam, Ethiopia

For as long as Western governments are providing a convenient supply of arms and ammunition it is hard to see the war ever ending.
John B, UK

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.
Teddy, USA

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE


Links to other Talking Point stories