Ethiopia’s offer for peace with Eritrea is a ‘distant dream’, says major Eritrean opposition group

(Tesfa-Alem Tekle)

An Eritrean opposition group on Saturday said, Ethiopia’s recent call for peace with long-time rival Eritrea is a “distant dream” which won’t halt Eritrea from continuing its ill acts.

The Armed opposition group, Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO) said Ethiopia’s peace offer won’t stop the reclusive red sea nation from being a destabilizing factor in the region.

The remarks by the exile opposition group comes only few days after Ethiopia’s governing coalition announced to fully and unconditionally accept the outcomes of the 2002 border commission ruling, which awarded disputed territories including the flash town of Badme, to Eritrea.

With regard to the latest development, the Eritrean opposition has commended Ethiopia’s move but said that won’t make Eritrea change its policy.

“As an opposition, we say that the Eritrean regime that ruled Eritrea for 27 years have agendas of stirring up Conflict and war in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea Zone”, RSADO leader, Ibrahim Harun, told Horn Affairs.

“So Ethiopia’s call for peace with the Eritrean government is a distant dream, as the Asmara regime cannot live in peace”.

“We call on the new government in Ethiopia, the region and the international community to discuss other options to deal with Eritrean regime including removing the regime in order to achieve stability and peace in the region and consolidate the foundations of democracy and respect for human rights so they can achieve coexistence with the Eritrean people, who suffer from the policy of the regime for nearly 27 years”, Ibrahim added.

Founded in 1998 to stand for the rights of the Eritrean ethnic Afar minority, militarily, RSADO is considered as the strongest than all the other Eritrean rebel groups.

In the past, its armed wing has carried out a number of successful attacks against the Eritrean government army.

Ethiopia and Eritrea signed an Algiers agreement that ended a two-year long border war in 2000. However Ethiopia refused to comply the peace deal and refused to withdraw its forces from disputed areas.

As a result, the two rival neighbors have since been in a war footing with both countries engaging in frequent skirmishes.
During his inaugural speech in April, Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed (PhD) promised to restore peace with bitter rival Eritrea, raising hopes of peace.

The latest move by Ethiopia is seen as a major step towards calming deadly tensions with its nearly two decades-long rival.

“The Ethiopian and Eritrean people are tied by language, history and lineage” the ruling party, EPRDF (Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front), said a statement last Tuesday.

It added that “in the interest of the peoples of both countries, the government of Ethiopia have decided to fully accept the Algiers treaty and the rulings of the border commission and to implement it with conviction and without hesitance”.

The Ethiopia’s ruling party called on Eritrea’s government to do the same.

“The Eritrean government should 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,” it said.

Asmara had refused to hold any talks with Addis Ababa unless the latter to accept the border commission’s ruling.

Despite Ethiopia’s unexpected peace deal offer to Eritrea, President Isaias Afeworki’s government in Asmara has not yet responded.

Yemane Equbay, an Eritrean activist and politician, said although Ethiopia has accepted the deal, Eritrea might still insist to first see Ethiopia pulling out its army from disputed areas before taking any positive moves.

“Withdrawing its forces from disputed areas would mean for Eritrea that Ethiopia is serious about seeking peace with Eritrea”, Yemane told the Horn Affairs.

“I don’t think the government in Eritrea would sit for talks based on Ethiopia’s verbal agreement however the ball is firmly on Eritrean side”, He added.

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