Ethiopia and Eritrea recently inked an historic peace deal to end a 20-year stalemate caused by a state of war between the two countries through an initiative by the new young and charismatic Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The signing which took place on the 9th of July 2018 in Asmara- Eritrea was met by celebrations by Ethiopian and Eritreans both at home and abroad opened a new chapter in relationship between the two countries that are located in this the horn of Africa.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his counter President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea, agreed to restore a cordial relationship, open Embassies in both countries and also restore flight services between the two countries as well as allow the use of the Eritrean port by Ethiopia.
“The march toward peace might have been a long time coming but we have faith in the love and solidarity of our people,” said Abiy Ahmed, “we can now imagine a future where we see no national boundaries or high walls dividing us. The people of our region are joined in common purpose.”
Scores of Ethiopians and Eritreans took to the social media immediately after the signing to express their excitement. One Samson Haileysus wrote on Facebook, “The events of these past days between Ethiopia and Eritrea are like the fall of the Berlin Wall. Only amplified 1,000 times.”
The peace deal also marked the lifting of a ban on the telecommunication line between the two countries which was celebrated by citizens of both countries who started calling immediately from across the two countries to talk to their relatives and friends marking the beginning of a new era of freedom.
The UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres who was at the time visiting Ethiopia also hailed the peace agreement saying that the resumption of relations between the two countries was a sign of a new wind of hope that is sweeping across Africa.
In the back drop of the cross border hostility that is far from over, it might be too early to celebrate. The two sides must see this as the beginning and not the end. They must work hard so that this peace that has been so elusive for so long does not once again slip through their hands as this would mean that they lose all the gains brought about by one of the most peace loving prime ministers in the region. What is left to be seen is whether President Abiy will be smart enough to contain the discontentment among the minority groups such as the Irob people who are against the peace deal and will try to do everything to derail it.