In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s second largest city, Saudi diplomatic efforts have just played a key role in facilitating a historic peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eretria, two nations that have endured a simmering conflict since the 1990s. After a bloody, unresolved war followed by years of tense, frosty relations, the two countries have come together to sign a historic accord and hopefully continue a pattern of normalizing relations across the Horn of Africa.
Long-standing conflict between Djibouti and Eritrea may also reach a turning point this week in the same city as diplomatic representatives and national leaders come together to continue what appears to be an inspiring set of resolutions and peaceful negotiations.
Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, sees strong and positive implications in these agreements and has offered statements praising the leaders of both parties and expressing hope for stability in the region.
“We have seen a conflict that has lasted for decades ending, and that has a very important meaning in a world where we see, unfortunately, so many conflicts multiplying,” said Mr. Guterres.
As a very important part of this positive development, the border between the two countries has reopened at two key crossing points after 20 years of closure. As of the past few days, hundreds of citizens from both sides have crossed the border to reconnect with relatives and loved ones, and celebrations have taken place around the region.
Eritrea established its independence from Ethiopia in 1991, and the two countries enjoyed relatively stable relations until 1998, when conflict erupted over a host of issues, the border closed, and trade tensions escalated.
At this point, both sides will need to leverage the current spirit of goodwill as the next stage of border negotiations take place, but peace is expected to prevail. Read more here and also here and join us as we follow this encouraging story.