Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki will visit Addis Ababa today, following this week’s historic peace deal between his country and neighbouring
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki will visit Addis Ababa today, following this week’s historic peace deal between his country and neighbouring Ethiopia.
The rapprochement ends two decades of war over a border dispute, beginning in 1998. The first two years of fighting saw nearly 80,000 deaths with at least as many people displaced. Although the conflict cooled to a standoff in 2000, the cease of trade and an escalating refugee crisis continued to plague the countries with food shortages and poverty.
This week’s peace deal aims to change that, allowing both countries to spend more on education and infrastructure programs, rather than on defending their border. Additionally, the agreement allows the land-locked Ethiopia access to Eretria’s ports in exchange for financially backing their further development.
Although both leaders will face pushback from domestic hawks, the economic and social benefits of lasting peace will likely keep this deal from collapsing. Expect a newfound stability in the war-torn Horn region, possibly bringing back thousands of refugees who have fled to Europe. However, for this to happen the countries will need to stay their course, opening their markets and creating new opportunities for people to return home to.
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