Outbreak of peace: on Ethiopia-Eritrea thaw(Hindu summary-28th July 2018)

www.iasinsights.in ; www.isgyaan.com posts Hindu summary about Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict and peace process initiated.

 

Outbreak of peace: on Ethiopia-Eritrea thaw

The Hindu

Context:

Eritrean–Ethiopian War to be concluded with a peace agreement mediated by African Union

What is Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict?

  • The Eritrean–Ethiopian War, one of the conflicts in the Horn of Africa, took place between Ethiopia and Eritrea from May 1998 to June 2000, with the final peace only agreed to in 2018.
  • According to a ruling by an international commission in The Hague, Eritrea broke international law and triggered the war by invading Ethiopia.At the end of the war, Ethiopia held all of the disputed territory and had advanced into Eritrea
  • From 1961 until 1991, Eritrea had fought a long war of independence against Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Civil War began on 12 September 1974 when the Marxist Derg staged a coup d’état against Emperor Haile Selassie.
  • It lasted until 1991 when the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)—a coalition of rebel groups led by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)—overthrew the Derg government and installed a transitional government in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.Related image
  • The Derg government had been weakened by their loss of support due to the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.
  • During the civil war, the groups fighting the Derg government had a common enemy, so the TPLF allied itself with the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF).
  • In 1991 as part of the United Nations-facilitated transition of power to the transitional government, it was agreed that the EPLF should set up an autonomous transitional government in Eritrea and that a referendum would be held in Eritrea to find out if Eritreans wanted to secede from Ethiopia.
  • The referendum was held and the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of independence.
  • In April 1993 independence was achieved and the new state joined the United Nations.I
  • In 1991 the EPLF-backed transitional government of Eritrea and the TPLF-backed transitional government of Ethiopia, agreed to set up a commission to look into any problems that arose between the two former wartime allies over the foreseen independence of Eritrea.This commission was not successful and during the following years relations between the governments of the two sovereign states deteriorated.
  • After the war ended, the Eritrea–Ethiopia Boundary Commission, a body founded by the UN, established that Badme, the disputed territory at the heart of the conflict, belongs to Eritrea.
  • As of 2018, Ethiopia still occupies the territory near Badme, including the town of Badme. Related image

Who played key role?

  • On 5 June 2018, the ruling coalition of Ethiopia, headed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, agreed to fully implement the peace treaty signed with Eritrea in 2000, with peace declared by both parties in July 2018.

How the peace agreement will be implemented?

  • lifting the state of emergency,
  • releasing thousands of political prisoners, and
  • removing some Opposition parties from the list of terrorist groups

Internal conflicts within Ethiopia:

The conflict is between country’s ethnic Oromo majority and the politically dominant Tigrayan minority.

  • Oromia and Somali are, respectively, the two largest regions in the country by area size, sharing a border of more than 1,400 km (870 miles).
  • While Somalis are mostly pastoralists, living from their animals, Oromos tend to be farmers, as well as pastoralists.
  • Both communities inhabit the areas around the regional border.
  • Historically, their relationship has been characterised by territorial competition which often leads to disputes and conflicts over resources, including wells and grazing land.
  • These conflicts can cause the displacement of tens of thousands of people.
  • In 2004, a referendum to decide on the fate of more than 420 kebeles – the country’s smallest administrative unit – gave 80% of them to Oromia.
  • Following the outcome, tens of thousands of ethnic Somalis reportedly fled the areas for fear of repercussions.
  • The decision has still not been implemented and this is one factor behind the current conflict.
  • To initiate the peace agreement with Eritrea, stability within Ethiopia is needed.

What can be done for internal peace in Ethiopia?

Restoration of peace and democracy by conducting elections is need of hour since former leader dint obey the 1997 constitution.

Why the peace is needed?

Ethiopia and Eritrea are strategically located, both as gateways for global trade and for counter-terrorism operations. Peace will allow landlocked Ethiopia to access Eritrean ports, and tie the two countries into greater economic cooperation.

Way forward:

  • The international community must step up to engage Ethiopia and Eritrea on fairer terms than it has during the course of the bitter conflict.
  • It is possible only with the political wisdom and vision of their leaders.

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