FND June 6, 2018
On Tuesday, June 5, 2018, the Executive Committee of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the ruling front in Ethiopia, issued a statement of its decision to “fully accept and implement” the December 12, 2000 Algiers Agreement; and further called upon the Eritrean government to “take the same stand without any prerequisite and accept our call to bring back the long-lost peace of the two brother nations as it was before.”
The Forum for National Dialogue (FND) underscores the importance of the step Ethiopia has taken towards regional peace for it firmly believes that any peaceful resolution of conflicts is predicated on in-good-faith compliance and implementation of treaties, agreements, rulings, and law.
The FND believes that this commendable step should be followed by the immediate withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Eritrean territories. This would signal Ethiopia’s unequivocal commitment to the rule of law, as mandated by the Eritrean Ethiopian Boundary Commission’s (EEBC) ruling, and help alleviate the air of mistrust, suspicion and hostility between the two countries.
The FND is fully aware that the Ethiopian government has always accepted “in principle” the EEBC’s verdict, but implementation was obstructed because it had unilaterally made “dialogue” a “prerequisite” to implementation. Tuesday’s decision of the Executive Committee of the ruling front (EPRDF) is a welcome, commendable and positive change and one that FND believes would pave the way for peace.
On multiple occasions, the Eritrean government has clearly stated its readiness to enter into a dialogue with Ethiopia as soon as Ethiopia withdraws its troops from its territory. Eritrea’s insistence on the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops is not a “prerequisite” of acceptance but a first act of compliance as mandated by the ruling.
The FND calls upon the Eritrean government, the United Nations and the African Union, the two guarantors of the Algiers Agreement, to seize this opportunity and help facilitate the speedy implementation of the EEBC’s decision.
The FND recognizes that the implementation of the border verdict is only the first step towards normalization of relations, the restoration of peace and neighborly cooperation between the two countries, and for this to materializes the peace process should not be the purview of the two governments only. Peace cannot be attained without good governance and it is vital that the democratic project is vigorously pursued in both countries.
The Eritrean and Ethiopian people, their civil societies and opposition parties should be an integral part of the peace and democratic process.
The FND recognizes that the border demarcation has nothing to do with the lack of democratic and constitutional rule in Eritrea, but the Eritrean regime has been using it as an excuse to prolong the suffering of the people. The decision of Ethiopia to “fully accept and implement” the Algiers Agreement, followed by the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops would deny the Eritrean regime any excuse to not implement its ratified constitution.
The FND calls upon the Eritrean regime to implement the 1997 ratified constitution, restore the free press, release political prisoners and prisoner of conscience, demobilize, and end the indefinite national service without any further dely.
Forum for National Dialogue