Eritrea’s President Promises to Send Delegation to
June 20,2018
Eritrea’s president says he will send a delegation to Ethiopia to discuss Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’
s pledge to implement the terms of a peace deal negotiated in 2000.

Agreeing to that deal means ceding occupied land back to Eritrea and honoring a 2002
international court ruling that awarded Eritrea the disputed town of Badme.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki announced the overture Wednesday in Asmara in his annual
Martyr’s Day address. He said the delegation would also “chart out a plan for continuous future
action” between the countries.

Ahmed’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, later said on Twitter the prime minister is ready to welcome
the Eritrean delegation.
The ruling coalition was referring to the state monopolies in the electricity, telecoms and logistics
sectors, as well as the highly profitable Ethiopian Airlines. A shortage of foreign currency has
threatened Ethiopia's economic growth, which dropped to 8.5 per cent this year from 10.9 per cent
in 2017, according to the International Monetary Fund.

One of Africa's leading money transfer companies, Dahabshiil, which operates in Ethiopia and
other African countries, has welcomed the new move which its Chief Executive Officer, Abdirashid
Duale, has described as a new dawn in Ethiopia's economic growth.


"Ethiopia is definitely going to grow at a faster rate economically, thanks to the government's
decision to open its doors to foreign investors and the Ethiopian diaspora," said Mr Duale on
FILE - An Ethiopian military officer stands guard on the outskirts of Badme, a territorial dispute town
between Eritrea and Ethiopia currently occupied by Ethiopia, June 8, 2018.

What will become of residents in Badme and other towns set to transfer to Eritrea is not yet clear.

A timeline for sending the delegation has not been established, but some reports suggest
Ethiopia will remove troops from occupied areas along the border in July.

Ahmed’s pledge on the border issue is one of many reforms that the new prime minister has
announced, leading to a wave of changes in the country. Ethiopia recently released thousands of
dissidents and political prisoners who were arrested under a controversial anti-terrorism law.
Eritrea and Ethiopia share a violent history. Eritrea fought a 30-year war for independence to break away
from Ethiopia. It gained international recognition in 1993. However, conflict between the countries
persisted, particularly on their border, which was disputed. Between 1998 and 2000, the countries fought a
border war that resulted in at least 70,000 deaths.

Since then, tensions have remained high.

But in his speech Wednesday, Afwerki emphasized shared struggles and losses between the Eritrean and
Ethiopian people. He blamed historic animosities on “misguided global policies” and the “toxic and
malignant legacy” of the TPLF, the Ethiopian political party that, for decades, has controlled the country’s
political and security spheres.

But sweeping changes have occurred in Ethiopia. Ahmed, the new prime minister, represents a different
party within Ethiopia’s ruling EPRDF coalition and belongs to a long-marginalized ethnic group, the Oromo.
Earlier this month, he replaced the army’s chief of staff.