Security Council hails ‘historic and significant’ joint peace declaration by Ethiopia and Eritrea

UNICEF/Mulugeta Ayene
Afar, Ethiopia, on the border with Eritrea, February 2018

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday described the Joint Declaration, signed by the leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia, as “a historic and significant” move with “far-reaching consequences” for the whole Horn of Africa region and beyond.

The Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship signed on Monday by Eritrean President, Isaias Afwerki, and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, signals the resumption of diplomatic ties for the first time in two decades, and opens a “new chapter of cooperation and partnership,” said the statement issued on behalf of the 15 Council members.

Among the measures agreed by the two men during the historic meeting in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, were the restoration of flights, the opening of embassies, and for Ethiopia to use port facilities in Eritrea, according to news reports. A block on telecommunications was also lifted, allowing families divided following a war across the disputed border between the countries, which left thousands dead, to telephone each other.

The Council “recognized the call in the Joint Declaration for solidarity and support, and encouraged all actors to offer their support to the peace process”, said the statement, adding that members “stand ready to support Eritrea and Ethiopia in their implementation of the Joint Declaration”.

Council members also took note of the Secretary-General’s offer to support the process. On Monday, UN chief António Guterres told journalists in the Ethiopian capital, where he was attending the second annual UN-African Union conference, that the “recent evolution” of relations in the past few weeks was “a very important signal of hope, not only for these two countries, not only for Africa, but for the whole world”.

“The UN is ready to do whatever the two parties ask us to do…The UN will be entirely at their disposal to do whatever is necessary to facilitate the success of what needs to be done,” added Mr. Guterres.

Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister of Ethiopia only in February, following the resignation of his predecessor, and is the first leader to hail from the majority Oromo ethnic group.

Since taking office, he has implemented a large number of political reforms, and previously served in Government as Minister for Science and Technology.

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