Home | News    Thursday 18 August 2011

South Sudan offers to mediate between Ethiopia and Eritrea over border row


By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

August 17, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) – The newly independent Republic of South Sudan has called on Ethiopia and Eritrea to resume peace talks to end their long-standing border dispute.

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Refugees from Eritrea waiting to be screened by the Ethiopian authorities in Endabaguna town, Wednesday, July 27, 2011 (AP)

Between 1998 and 2000 Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a bitter war over the disputed border town of Badme, which killed at least 70,000 people. Fighting ended in 2000 when the two sides signed the Algiers peace agreement by which the dispute was referred for international arbitration.

But despite the UN founded Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission finding that Badme belonged to Eritrea, Ethiopia has refused to remove its troops from the area. Ethiopia often accuses Eritrea, which seceded from its larger neighbour in 1993, of attempts to destablise the region. Most recently it alleged that Eritrea intended to attack an African Union summit in Addis Ababa.

The offer of mediation is one of South Sudan’s first articulations of its foreign policy since it separated from Sudan on July 9 as part of a 2005 peace deal.

“I appeal to both leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea to find a peaceful and lasting solution to the existing differences” South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir Mayardit said in a press statement on his two day official visit to neighbouring Ethiopia and the African Union (AU).

The South Sudanese leader whose country has cordial relations with both Ethiopia and Eritrea underscored the need to resume diplomatic efforts to bring both countries to the negotiating table.

Kiir pledged to bring the two sides together for talks to find out a peaceful settlement soon his country has established itself on a firmer footing.

“As soon as we have set our priorities in order and rolling, I will shuttle between Addis Ababa and Asmara until the two sisterly countries are brought back to normal relations”, he said noting the two countries contribution during South Sudan’s struggle for independence.

“I personally take this as a moral duty because it is disturbing to us seeing both countries bleeding again while both of them also paid the ultimate sacrifice in order for the people of South Sudan to be free today” Kiir added.

The Ethiopian government recently threatened that it would attempt to bring about regime change in Eritrea stirring fears of return to full scale war.

Speaking to parliament in April, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said that his government would not be forced to change its policy from “passive defiance” to directly help Eritrean people topple the regime.

Zenawi said Eritrea is sending terrorists and is supporting and training homegrown “destructive forces” in a plot to “turn Addis Ababa into Baghdad”.

Eritrea rejects the allegations. The two neighbours routinely trade tough rhetoric since the border war ended over a decade ago.


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  • 18 August 2011 07:29, by MINDED.DUDE

    how about ABYEI border?
    did you already solve it??

    repondre message

    • 18 August 2011 08:40, by LL Reuben

      Oh Boy!

      Blunder after a blunder. Negotiate peace in Abyei, South Kordofan, and do something about our immense security situation in ofcourse Abyei, Unity State and Western Equatoria. Stop clowning around naively; this is not how you get recognition. Eritrea has associated herself with Somali terrorists during course of their conflict with Ethiopia. The last thing a sane person can do is avoiding any sort of connection with them.

      Mayardit is rolling a dice. Running a country required much more than dicerolling, otherwise things will escalate out of his hand (Mayardit) very quickly if he doesn’t take his position seriously. There is no room for negligent here because the challenges of creating a country are immense.

      repondre message

  • 18 August 2011 07:30, by Ahmed Chol

    Eritrea is rough and you probably don’t need to mess around with it.
    Ahmed Chol, whatever begins in anger, ends in shame

    repondre message

  • 18 August 2011 07:34, by Nhomlawda

    Have South Sudan handled its border problems with Sudan, Uganda and other countries to mediate between Ethiopia and Eriteria? Moral authority is an important tool in conflicts mediation.

    South Sudan territory had been bombed by Sudan in the past without South Sudan doing anything, so does South Sudan government think other countries can bear their methodology to conflict avoidance?

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  • 18 August 2011 07:43, by Bush

    Is president Kiir trying to show off that he can manage international affairs too or what? Why is he eager to try to solve others problems while he can’t solve ours here at home? Our border with the north is yet demarcated, the fate of Abyei is still hanging, the LRA is still threatening and killing our civilians who wants to enjoy peace that they paid for and the numerous rebellions are still threatening the security and the development of this new nation.

    Can someone really tell Kiir that he should make use of this period to better the living standard of the people of South Sudan. Why do you want to others to be happy when your own people are not yet happy?

    Mr president be careful with your decisions because it will determine your position in the next election.

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  • 18 August 2011 07:44, by logic

    can you mind about your business before getting to others; you have a long way to go ROSS!

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  • 18 August 2011 08:11, by Abebe

    I sincerely admire Mr. Kiir, and generally South Sudan’s people direct, and sunny attitude. However, the Ethio-Eritrea problem is not that easy of a problem that can be solved by just sitting down and talking. You need to have a person with stable mind to sit down and talk to, to begin with. Isayas Afeworki is not that type of person. Other than the fact that he’s mentally unstable, which has been proved by his knack of starting conflicts with ALL of his neighbors, he also has a life time mission he was given by Arabs to destabilize Ethiopia and the larger horn of Africa. Why else he supports a vicious terrorists like Al-Shabab, who are in a country that he does not share an inch of a border with at all? He uses the deeply rooted identity crises of his highland population (Christians) to facilitate his Arab wanna be (Abeed) lowland population (Muslims) desire. Arab countries, such as Libya, Egypt and recently Qatar are playing on his ego and boosting his fantasy by providing him with cash to keep Ethiopia (85% of the source of the Nile), and other Nile basin African countries in check, so we can not use that resource. Brother Kiir and South Sudan will soon find out the true nature of Afeworki and Eritreans stay tuned. Other than that, what I can confidently say is the brotherly relationship of South Sudan and Ethiopia will flourish...

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    • 18 August 2011 08:20, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

      Don’t you worry about it mr kiir will send his fail deputy which has been known worldwid for failure.

      I am talking about that person who fail to make peace with bashir and konyi of LRA. he will be send there to fail as usually

      repondre message

  • 18 August 2011 09:12, by Lat Dak Nyaroah

    Mr. President, I wish the speed you are taking to show off would have been the same to develop our nation. You and Deng Alor are rushing so much. The other day it was sending SPLA troops to Somalia and today it is mediate Peace talk between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Those proposals are not our priorities we South Sudan Citizens. Please can you refrain from show off habit, otherwise, you will have only one term in that position.

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  • 18 August 2011 12:15, by Gabriel KK

    Hey Guys,
    Our leaders must know that we have more to be done at home than rushing into difficult tasks which needs more time and money. the issue of somali and the mediation between Ethiopia and Eritrea is completely rubbish and waste of time. have have 53 other African countries who are strong enough to handle this issues than our infant country. President and all our MPs must do what majority of Southerners want.

    repondre message

  • 8 April 2013 16:45, by dennishobson

    iytB3TVsPBaSp7PYEMXNgGQL1y6EGEssanyong madeira plastica composite decking This really answered my problem, thank you!

    repondre message

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