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Eritrea and peace with Ethiopia: Four questions

The leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea are scheduled to meet soon to discuss resuscitation relationships that have been in deep freezing for decades.

Analysts believe that ending their bitter dispute could be transformative to Eritrea, whose policy has been driven by the deadlock with its neighbor.

Here are four things to know about why worry means so much to Eritrea – and why does it stop converting the country.

How important is the dispute to Eritrea?


Eritrea claims – and a UN-supported Border Commission agreed in 2002 – that Ethiopia illegally occupies land along the borders of the two countries belonging to Eritrea.

It was along this border that Ethiopia and Eritrea, a former Ethiopian province, went to war from 1998 to 2000 in a conflict that killed about 80,000 people.

Since Algier's agreement ended the war, Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki has used Ethiopia's refusal of the subsequent border rule to justify a host of repressive domestic policies.

These include jailing journalists and dissidents, refusing to implement the Constitution and pursuing an indefinite military conscription program that the United Nations resembles slavery.

"The country was put in place for 20 years and everything went about [the border dispute]" says Abraham Zere, an exiled journalist and chief executive of the Literature and Rights Organization, PEN Eritrea.

Will Eritrea approach?

Yes, of all indications Ethiopia's new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, made the first move in June by announcing that Ethiopia would withdraw from the city of Badme and other contested border areas, in accordance with the 2002 verdict.

Eritrea responded by sending two senior officials to Ethiopia , and later a meeting between Abiy and Isaias was announced, but no details have been given.

"I think it is fair to say that the Eritrean leadership has committed

Ethiopia has not recalled from the contested areas yet, but it comes to fulfill a long-standing eritic demand.

PEN s Abraham says that the offer was too good for Isaias to refuse, even though he, by removing the Ethiopian threat, is at risk of increasing the domestic pressure on the reform.

"He is well aware that it is the only way out. The peace proposal and commitment from both sides are not an option but a necessity," said Abraham.

How would peace benefit Eritrea?

Hugely. ] Eritrea and Ethiopia are among the poorest countries in Africa, but while Ethiopia

Analysts believe that normalization bands would benefit both countries.

Eritrean industries could serve the growing markets of its much larger and more populated southern neighbor.

"Eritrea will win a lot, because it will be able to follow the economic momentum of Ethiopia," said Marc Lavergne of the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris.

Woldemariam claims that the dispute with Ethiopia could attack foreign investors to consider Eritrea free from the fear of Addis Ababa's anger.

"It is likely to improve relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea further strengthens the rehabilitation of the Eritrean state on the international scene, "he adds.

Peace can also help solve Ethiopia's problem with lack of access to the sea: the country became landlocked after Eritrea, which encompassed Ethiopia's entire coastline, was dismissed in 1993.

The outbreak of war five years later stopped the flow of Ethiopian goods through Eritrea: s Red Sea ports, but trade and transport could reboot if the two countries came into being.

"The port of Massawa will increase and become one of the alternative ports for Ethiopia," said Lavergne.

Who else is involved?

No official.

Last week's breakthrough meeting between Ethiopia and Eritrea was not conveyed by any third party.

But analysts say that political shifts of the US and Gulf countries against the two countries and their dispute may have played a role in accelerating diplomatic tinning.

Eritrea has long accused the US of taking sides that owe Washington to fail to drive Ethiopia

Woldemariam says the United States may have decided it was time to find a new alliance after Djibouti, a neighbor to both Ethiopia and Eritrea, also hosting an American troop, allows the Chinese to open a military base on their country.

"Especially because of geopolitical development in the Red Sea – China's presence in Djibouti, in particular – the US has an interest in normalizing relations with Eritrea," points out Woldemariam.

Eritrea has also strengthened relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in recent years, which has reportedly opened a military base in Eritrea's southern port of Assab. [19659039] Both are also allies in Ethiopia have led someone to look behind the scenes played by the Gulf.

"These countries have Eritrea on a financial drop. They really took part in the decision of Israel to negotiate," Lavergne claims.

Peace: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Left and Eritrea President Isaias Afwerki, Has The Ability To End A Dispute Settlement For The Years

The tomb of Ethiopian soldiers who died in the fighting with Eritrea are painted in the colors of the Ethiopian flag in the disputed border town of Badme

Map of Ethiopia, Eritrea and the bomb between them

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