Ethiopia and Eritrea sign peace agreement in Saudi Arabia

17 Sep 2018

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki signed a historic peace agreement on 16th September in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in the presence of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The Jeddah Peace Accord is aimed at strengthening security and stability in the region at large and is the second peace deal the two countries have signed since they ended decades of enmity in July by signing the “Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship”.

Since then, relations between the two countries have gone from strength to strength. On 11th September, two land border crossings between Ethiopia and Eritrea were reopened for the first time in 20 years. Air links, embassies and trade routes have also been re-opened.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the signing as an “historic event.”

He expressed his “deep appreciation” for the role played by Saudi Arabia, before paying tribute “on one hand to the courage, vision and wisdom of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia – who has had the capacity to overcome enormous resistance from the past and open a new chapter in the history of his country – and also the way the President of Eritrea has promptly responded to his peace initiatives.”

Seizing on the implications for the whole region, Mr Guterres said that the agreement meant “there is a wind of hope blowing in the Horn of Africa.”

In a statement, the Saudi government said “the peace deal resulted in restoration of normal relations between the countries, on the basis of the close bonds of geography, history and culture between the two nations and their peoples. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia praised the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea for exercising leadership and courage to restore the brotherly relations between the two countries, thus forming the foundation for a new phase that will bring significant developments in the relations between the two nations in all fields.”

PM Abiy and President Isaias were also awarded the Order of Abdul Aziz Al Saud Medal, the kingdom’s highest civilian honour, for their efforts.

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Following the historic rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, London-based Eritrean Artist, Biniam Ghide, felt compelled to construct a sculpture of peace for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Biniam showcased his artwork at the Embassy in the presence of the Head of Diaspora Affairs, Mr Fekadu Beyene. The Embassy will facilitate the delivery of the sculpture to the Prime Minister in Ethiopia.

Biniam now dreams of making a large sculpture/monument on the Ethio-Eritrean border.

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