The Algiers Accord Between Ethiopia and Eritrea at 23

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Recalling the 23rd anniversary of the Algiers Agreement, both the United Kingdom and the United States have issued official statements, underscoring their enduring support for the landmark accord signed by Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Algiers Agreement, inked in December 2000 with international backing, aimed to foster peace and delineate a shared border between the two nations. Today, as the global community reflects on the journey since its inception, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) of the UK and the United States government have voiced their commitment to the principles outlined in the agreement.

The FCDO spokesperson remarked, “Twenty-three years ago today, Ethiopia and Eritrea, with the support of the international community, concluded the Algiers Agreement to establish peace and demarcate a common border.” Highlighting the historical significance of the 2018 peace agreement, the spokesperson emphasized the joint commitment of both nations to uphold the borders as outlined in the Algiers Agreement and its subsequent Boundary Commission. The UK, reiterating its steadfast support, emphasized the paramount importance of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity defined by these agreements. The statement further emphasized the UK’s ongoing dedication to collaborating with all Horn of Africa countries towards the shared goal of a peaceful and prosperous region.

Similarly, the United States, in its official statement, reflected on the shared history of Ethiopia and Eritrea in concluding the Algiers Agreement 23 years ago. In 2018, both nations recommitted to respecting the established borders in a historic peace agreement. The U.S. government emphasized the continued importance of upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both countries, particularly on this significant anniversary. Encouraging collaboration between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the United States underscored the spirit of peace forged between the two nations, envisioning a more stable and prosperous region.

The timing of these statements is intriguing, considering the Algiers Agreement was initially reached in December 2000. Despite the historic peace agreement of 2018, tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea persisted for nearly two decades, casting a shadow over the official demarcation of the border. In 2018, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s olive branch to Eritrea led to the end of a prolonged no-war-no-peace stalemate, earning him the Nobel Peace Prize.

However, recent events have introduced complexities. Following the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) between Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), relations between Asmara and Addis Ababa have witnessed a visible cool-down. Continued reports of Eritrean combatants in northern Ethiopia and Ethiopia’s vocal aspirations for access to Eritrean ports and the establishment of a Naval force have added a layer of tension to the diplomatic landscape.

The reiteration of support for the Algiers Agreement by both Washington and London at this particular time has prompted varied interpretations. Some view it as a subtle diplomatic nudge, urging restraint and the preservation of territorial integrity. However, others perceive it as a veiled instigation of potential conflict, given the complex geopolitical dynamics in the region. There is no doubt it is peculiar.

As the world reflects on the 23-year journey since the Algiers Agreement, the international community may be side tracked by other more pressing conflicts around the world. Yet it remains one point of tension at the mouth of an already troubled Red Sea region.

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