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REMEMBERED – 20 years of failed foreign mediation

The Ambassador of Ethiopia to South Sudan, Fisha Shawil (L) and Eritrean Ambassador, Yohannes Tecle Michael (R) (Photo by David Mono Danga)

By David Mono Danga

For twenty years Eritrea and Ethiopia tried foreign mediators to attain peace but the efforts failed said Eritrean Ambassador, Yohannes Tecle Michael.

The flags of the two nations flew bright and sharp. The two leaders waved at the happy crowds. The formal meetings overran, amid ostentatious displays of bonhomie. Even the hatchet-faced security officials appeared relaxed.

Ambassador, Yohannes advised South Sudanese leaders to emulate the example of the two countries saying; “Historically, foreign interventions or mediations of peace has not been viable in Africa since they were either imposed or dictated on Africans.”

He said it’s only when African leaders come together to address their issues shall Africa become the midwive of “our own destiny”.

“With the absence of peace mediators Eritrean and Ethiopian leaders have signed a peace declaration that has enabled the resumption of communication, flights and business between the two countries, including implementation of agreements regarding the border,” Yohannes said while addressing citizens of the two communities in South Sudan yesterday during the celebrations of the Declaration of Peace and Friendship between the two countries at Star Hotel in Juba Town.

“We tried to involve foreign mediators get peace but for twenty years they failed to bring peace to us. Until my president Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy met in Addis Ababa to sign a peace declaration that has surprised the world,” said Yohannes.

His counterpart the Ambassador of Ethiopia to South Sudan, Fisha Shawil said the peace initiated by the Prime Minister Abiy and President Isaias took only two weeks for it to be signed and has created a sense of belonging and friendship between the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities. Something he said has been missing for decades.

“The friendship and sisterhood of the two countries is re-ignited. It is unbelievable how it has been missing for twenty years,” Amb Shawil added.

He said no other country can come to the rescue of one of the two countries when it is in trouble except the other.

Asmeron Neamen, an Eritrean Businessman in South Sudan said I wished South Sudanese leaders could take the same bold decision and bring peace to the millions of people who have been displaced by the 5 year-old civil war that erupted in December 2013.

“I would like to thank God and congratulate our leaders for finally signing peace for the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia after twenty years. I wish and hope that the leaders of South Sudan can do the same,” Neamen said.

He said let the leaders put aside hatred and their political differences in order to bring peace to the country.

The meeting of Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s 41-year-old prime minister, and Isaias Afwerki, the 71-year-old president of Eritrea, in Addis Ababa on Saturday left seasoned Africa observers gasping for breath.

“The pace of this is simply astounding,” Omar S Mahmood, of the Institute for Peace and Security Studies in Ethiopia’s booming capital had said.

The meeting between Abiy and Isaias concluded an  intense bout of diplomacy that appears to have ended one of the Africa’s longest-running conflicts. “Words cannot express the joy we are feeling now,” Isaias said, as he had lunch with Abiy. “We are one people. Whoever forgets that does not understand our situation.”


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