On 7 September, Eritrea and Djibouti agreed to normalize relations following a decade of diplomatic stalemate. Workneh Gebeyehu, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister, called the decision “a historic diplomatic achievement.”
The normalisation of ties with Djibouti is one of many recently reported regional developments, including:
- On 9 July, Eritrea signed a “Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship” with Ethiopia, attempting to put an end to the stalemate of ‘no war no peace’.
- Ethiopia successfully mediated Eritrea and Somalia’s reconciliation, and both countries signed a “Joint Declaration on Brotherly Relations and Comprehensive Cooperation” on 30 July.
- On 16 September, Eritrea and Ethiopia signed the Jeddah Agreement to extend the promise of normalizing relations. The signing was attended by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
A tripartite agreement was also signed by Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, with the aim of fostering comprehensive cooperation between the three nations.
Stefano Manservisi, the European Union Commission’s Director-General for International Cooperation and Development, concluded that the tripartite pact “represents an important step to be welcomed for peace and development in the Horn and its neighbourhood.” Members of the United Nations Security Council applauded the signing of the Jeddah Agreement and recognised the participation of Saudi Arabia in the process.
The Security Council members also acknowledged the Jeddah meeting between Eritrea’s president Isaias Afwerki and Djibouti’s Ismail Omar Guelleh, which may be significant to Eritrea’s quest for the lifting of sanctions imposed by the UN since 2009.
“While signs of positive change in the region must be welcomed, Eritrea Focus is worried that there have not yet been any substantive reforms within Eritrea. Its human rights record remains a concern, and refugees continue to pour into Ethiopia and beyond. We urge the international community to remain vigilant in promoting the positive change in Eritrea that we all hope is on the horizon.”