The Jeddah Agreement: A New Era of Peace Between Ethiopia and Eritrea
In July 2018, the historic Jeddah Agreement was signed between Ethiopia and Eritrea, bringing an end to a 20-year long conflict between the two countries. The agreement was brokered by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, and it has brought about a new era of peace and cooperation between the former adversaries.
The conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea dates back to the 1990s, when Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia after a long struggle. However, the two countries soon found themselves embroiled in a border dispute that eventually led to a full-scale war in 1998. The war claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people and left both countries devastated.
For two decades, the conflict simmered, with both sides refusing to give an inch. However, in April 2018, a new government came to power in Ethiopia, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ahmed wasted no time in reaching out to Eritrea, and in June of that year, he made a historic visit to the Eritrean capital, Asmara, where he held talks with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki.
The talks led to the Jeddah Agreement, which was signed on 16 July 2018 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The agreement called for an end to hostilities between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the establishment of diplomatic relations, the opening of borders, and the resumption of trade and economic ties.
Since the signing of the agreement, there have been significant steps taken towards peace and reconciliation between the two countries. In September 2018, Ethiopian Airlines made its first flight to Eritrea in 20 years, and in November of that year, the two countries reopened border crossings that had been closed for two decades.
The Jeddah Agreement has also had wider implications for the region. It has helped to ease tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia, as well as reducing tensions between Ethiopia and Djibouti. Additionally, the agreement has been welcomed by the international community, with the United Nations and the African Union both playing a role in helping to broker the deal.
However, there are still challenges to be faced in implementing the agreement fully. There are concerns over the demarcation of the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea, as well as the treatment of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia. Nevertheless, the Jeddah Agreement represents a significant step towards lasting peace and cooperation between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and it has the potential to lead to wider regional stability in the Horn of Africa.