On June 5, 2018, after 16 years of categorical refusal of Ethiopia to accept the decision of the Algiers Accord, the new Ethiopian Prime Minister announced that he accepts “fully and unconditionally”.
This news, ten days ago, represents a major step towards easing tensions between the two neighboring countries.
This approach of the youngest African Prime Minister was greeted with great enthusiasm by the majority of the Eritrean diaspora. Nevertheless, the people living in the country could not openly express their excitement in view of the silence of the Eritrean government and the lack of “state approval”.
This silence may seem unintelligible, as the Eritrean government has repeatedly complained of the occupation of Ethiopia on Eritrean territory by both its delegations in Geneva and New York.
Presented as a threat to its national sovereignty, this argument was disproportionately used to justify, legitimize:
the presidency of Mr. Afeworki for 27 years;
national service of indefinite duration;
the impossibility of applying the Constitution;
the impossibility of establishing democratic mechanisms and institutions;
the disproportionate restriction of the fundamental freedoms of the Eritrean population;
inhumane and illegal practices vis-à-vis the Eritrean population;
the impossibility of democratic reforms.
Thus, this announcement by the Ethiopian Prime Minister would invalidate not only the status of “no-war, no-peace”, but also the very existence of the single party that has governed since 2001, without the consent of its population.
It is obvious that a responsible and sustainable government would, at a minimum, have formally acknowledged receipt of this news. Because deep down, who would oppose peace?
At present, the role of the guarantors of the Algiers Agreement (European Union, African Union, USA, Rwanda) and of the countries that have hosted a large number of Eritrean refugees is crucial. Indeed, the wind of confidence that has been blowing in the region since the election of the new Ethiopian Prime Minister represents a rare opportunity for these guarantors to deliver on their commitments and create a framework that will structure the next steps … in the meantime, perhaps the single party will decide to get out of silence.
(Translated by Google)