Ethiopian PM wants talks with Eritrea

December 6, 2012

 “If you ask me, “Do you want to go to Asmara and sit down and negotiate with Isaias Afwerki [Afeworki]?” Then, I will say “yes”,” Hailemariam said in the interview with al-Jazeera to be broadcast on Saturday, according to excerpts provided by the Qatar-based television station.

The two countries remain at odds over the flashpoint town of Badme, awarded to Eritrea by a UN-backed boundary commission but still controlled by Addis Ababa.

“The most important thing for us is to fight poverty. The most important thing for us is to have regional integration. If we two do that, it will be much more productive,” Hailemariam added.

Eritrea won independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year struggle, one of the continent’s longest and most bitter rebellions.

Hailemariam, who took office after longtime ruler Meles Zenawi died in August, said that reaching out to Asmara was following the policy of the late strongman.

“My predecessor Meles Zenawi had asked for more than 50 times even to go to Asmara and negotiate with Mister Isaias Afwerki,” he added.

Ethiopia and Eritrea routinely accuse each other of backing armed groups to destabilise the other, and in March, Ethiopian attacked an Eritrean military base after the killing of five European tourists in blamed on Asmara.



2 comments on “Ethiopian PM wants talks with Eritrea

  1. What is the point of offering olive branch at this time and suggesting to go to Asmara? Our issue is not Badme in the first place; our issue is Assab and the surrounding areas, at the very least. Is he going to mention that? It is unlikely.
    I hope the current PM is not going to commit another blunder that was done by the previous PM.

    Although the infamous Boundary Commission was backed by the U.N, the commission was not delegated to act on behalf of the U.N. So we should not abide by the decision of the Boundary Commission.

    I suggest the government should start working to restore our border and bring back Assab, instead of giving an average [b]two billion dollar[/b], yearly, to Djibouti for the use of their ports.

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