Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki is dispatching a delegation to Addis Ababa for “constructive engagement” with Ethiopia after peace overtures from its new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a senior Eritrean diplomat said on Wednesday.
The peace overtures he was referring to include a decision by Ethiopia’s ruling coalition to accept and implement the December 2000 Algiers Agreement that awarded the disputed town of Badme to Eritrea.
Eritrean ambassador to Japan Estifanos Afeworki said on Twitter that Isais had made the announcement of the potentially significant break-through in one of Africa’s most protracted conflicts on Wednesday. He gave no further details.
While Ethiopia’s decision to accept the Algiers Agreement was lauded by the international community, there was resistance from the residents of Badme town and even sections of the ruling coalition who questioned the process through which the decision was reached.
Eritrea wants to ‘map out future plans’
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki raised hopes of a breakthrough in one of Africa’s most intractable conflicts on Wednesday by describing recent peace overtures from arch-enemy Ethiopia as “positive messages”.
Speaking at a Martyrs‘ Day event in the capital, Asmara, Isaias said he was sending a delegation to Addis Ababa to understand the position of new Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and “map out future plans”.
His speech, broadcast on state television, was reported by the BBC Monitoring service.
Abiy told legislators this week that the decision to make peace with Eritrea was in the interests of development. Improved relations with Eritrea was one of the key issues highlighted in his inaugural speech as prime minister in April.