With breakneck speed, Ethiopia and Eritrea have resolved the decades-long conflict that had come to define the East African nations’ tumultuous 25-year relationship.
At the State Palace in Eritrea, President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed signed a declaration of peace Monday, formally ending the state of war between their countries and setting the stage for a new era of harmonious relations.
Both countries stand to benefit from closer ties, and the scope of the peace deal’s potential implications emerged shortly after the leaders signed the document.
Monday's agreement specifies that “transport, trade and communications links” would be re-established, and, as early as Sunday, the ability to make phone calls between the countries had been restored.
Commercial flights between the nations will resume next week, and plans to reopen embassies in the respective capitals are in the works.
Speaking at the African Union in Addis Ababa, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said that U.N.-imposed sanctions against Eritrea “will naturally become obsolete” in the wake of normalized relations between the countries.
Sanctions were imposed in 2009 for Eritrea’s alleged assistance to al-Shabab. Last November, the U.N. determined that no evidence currently links Eritrea to the Somalia-based militant group.
Guterres cautioned, however, that the decision was not his to make, and the U.N. Security Council would need to review the matter before making a determination.