2018 Eritrea–Ethiopia summit

2018 Eritrea–Ethiopia summit
JointDeclaration 2018.jpg
Signing Ceremony of the Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship between Eritrea and Ethiopia
Host country Eritrea
Date8–9 July 2018
Venue(s)Asmara President's Office
ParticipantsEritrea Isaias Afwerki
Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed
Key points
  1. The state of war between Ethiopia and Eritrea has come to an end
  2. To forge intimate political, economic, social, cultural and security cooperation
  3. Diplomatic ties, transport, trade & communication links resume
  4. The decision on the boundary will be implemented
  5. Jointly ensuring regional peace, cooperation and development

The 2018 Eritrea–Ethiopia summit (also 2018 Eritrea–Ethiopia peace summit) was a bilateral summit that took place on 8–9 July 2018 in Asmara, Eritrea, between Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and officials from the two countries.

The two leaders signed a joint declaration on 9 July, formally ending the border conflict between both countries, restoring full diplomatic relations, and agreeing to open their borders to each other for persons, goods and services.[1][2] The joint statement was also considered to close all chapters regarding the Eritrean–Ethiopian War (1998–2000) and of the following Eritrean–Ethiopian border conflict (2000–2018) with sporadic clashes.[3]

Background

Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 following the 30-year Eritrean War of Independence, and subsequent border disputes caused continuing tension between the two nations. The tensions came to a boiling point in May 1998, and Eritrea invaded Ethiopia,[4] leading to the Ethiopian–Eritrean War; this killed between 70,000–100,000 on both sides and left Eritrea with over a third of its territory occupied and more than 650,000 people displaced.[5]

In 2000, the two countries signed the Algiers Agreement agreeing to submit to binding arbitration to resolve boundary and restitution questions. Eritrea was awarded most of the disputed territory by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, but Ethiopia still occupied most of the disputed land as of 2017.[6] The result was a frozen conflict state of "no war, no peace" and prolonged tensions between the two countries.[7][8][9][10] Each country accused the other of hosting terrorist movements aimed at fomenting regime change,[11][12] and both remained closed societies; Ethiopia was a dominant-party state ruled by the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), and Eritrea was a formal one-party state ruled by the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ). Presidential and parliamentary elections were postponed and have never been held since independence.[13]

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was unable to make progress toward resolving tensions with Eritrea, and his tenure saw repeated waves of protest against the repressive political atmosphere.[14] He resigned in 2018 and was replaced by Abiy Ahmed, who promised in his inaugural address to negotiate an end to the Ethio-Eritrean conflict.[15][16]