ADDIS ABABA –  Ethiopia declared Tuesday that they are ready to accept and fully implement peace agreements with long-time opponents, Eritrea, over a border dispute. This unprecedented move was surprising and could lead to less tension between the nations.

This border dispute started over a border town named Badme and caused a war that lasted from 1998 to 2000 leaving around 80,000 people dead. After this deadly war, Eritrea and Ethiopia reached agreements known as the Algiers Accord in 2000 but Ethiopia never enforced the accords.

The problems between Ethiopia and Eritrea stem back to the 1960’s when Eritrea was a part of Ethiopia but then declared its independence which led to a war that lasted for 30 years until 1991 when the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front defeated the Ethiopian forces at the time.

The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front led by the youthful and newly-minted Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, stated in a speech he delivered in Addis Ababa that, “…Finding peace is necessary beyond anything else not just for Ethiopia but for the wider Horn of Africa…” Ahmed, 42, promised in his inaugural speech, a few months ago, that he was committed to strengthening ties with Eritrea. He has also released and pardoned many prisoners, lifted the State of Emergency that has been imposed on Ethiopia since February, two months early, and is ready to “boost and modernize the Ethiopian economy” by privatizing parts of the economy, per Fitsum Arega, the Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Ahmed.

Although there has been no comment back from Eritrea or long-time Eritrean President, Isaias Afwerki, it seems that peace and moving forward is what is on Ethiopia’s mind as of now. Many heads of states in Africa should aspire to be more like Dr. Abiy Ahmed and look to right the wrongs of their country’s past and move forward smarter, together.

Check out some tweets directly from Chief of Staff Fitsum Arega on the matter below.

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