Leaders of Ethiopia, Eritrea sign accord in Saudi Arabia

In this photograph released by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, Saudi King Salman, center, receives Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, left, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, right, in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. The leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea were in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to sign a peace accord between the two East African nations. (Saudi Press Agency via AP) (Associated Press)

By Jon Gambrell | AP

September 16

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Leaders from Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace agreement on Sunday during a summit in Saudi Arabia, yet another sign of warming ties between two nations that have face decades of war and unease.

Terms of the agreement signed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki weren’t immediately clear. Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry described it as a “seven-point agreement” while Eritrea offered no details.

Saudi authorities did not respond to specific questions about the accord, which earlier had been described as being a further endorsement of a historic deal reached between the two nations in July.

“The peace deal resulted in restoration of normal relations between the countries, on the basis of the close bonds of geography, history and culture between the two nations and their peoples,” Saudi Arabia said in a statement Sunday, calling the accord the “Jiddah Agreement.”

“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia praised the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea for exercising leadership and courage to restore the brotherly relations between the two countries, thus forming the foundation for a new phase that will bring significant developments in the relations between the two nations in all fields,” the statement added.

Saudi King Salman and his assertive 33-year-old son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, were on hand for the summit in the Red Sea port city of Jiddah. Also attending was Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“There is a wind of hope blowing in the Horn of Africa,” Guterres told journalists after the signing. “It is not only the peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea — it is the fact that tomorrow and the day after tomorrow we will have, here in Saudi Arabia, the president of Djibouti and the president of Eritrea — two countries that have also been at odds with each other.”

In September, an Ethiopian-mediated effort saw relations normalize between Eritrea and Djibouti after a long border dispute. Between 2010 and 2017 Qatar attempted to mediate a settlement but that effort failed. Qatar in June 2017 withdrew its 450 peacekeeping troops from the Eritrean-Djiboutian border after being isolated by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and two other Arab nations as part of a diplomatic dispute.

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