The Socialist International warmly welcomes the signing of a peace agreement by Eritrea's President Isaias Afewerki and Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, bringing to an end the state of war between the two countries that has persisted for two decades. Although a ceasefire had previously been reached, the border dispute at the centre of the conflict had been unresolved until Prime Minister Ahmed announced in early June that Ethiopia would fully accept the terms of the comprehensive peace agreement of 2000. The war, which lasted two years between 1998 and 2000, claimed 80,000 lives.
This accord will have a profound and positive effect on the lives of the people of both Eritrea and Ethiopia, a process which has already begun with the resumption of telephone communications between the two countries for the first time since 1998. Both governments have also expressed their desire to open "a new era of peace and friendship", with the opening of embassies, development of ports and resumption of flights between the neighbouring countries.
Choosing diplomacy, compromise and reconciliation is never straightforward, but this historic joint commitment to a shared future means that both countries will be able to enjoy the benefits of enhanced political, economic, social, cultural and security cooperation. As the Socialist International has outlined on many occasions, without peace there can be no development, no prosperity, and the objectives of democracy and social justice demanded by people all over the world cannot be achieved.
Eritrea and Ethiopia have shown that with effective leadership and a common will, peace is always within reach, achieving a great success for their two nations that will also benefit the Horn of Africa region and the continent as a whole. This positive example of conflict resolution could become a catalyst for wider peace building efforts, and the SI will continue to work with its member parties and others to promote peace and conflict resolution, which are fundamental social democratic principles and objectives.