Eritrea – Ethiopia: A string of near chances to fully normalise relations

Eritrea – Ethiopia: A string of near chances to fully normalise relations

By Samuel Getachew

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, second left, and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, center, hold hands as they wave at the crowds in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sunday July 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

(Theafricareport)—Ethiopia and Eritrea’s tumultuous relationship has a string of missed opportunities to fully normalise relations, since the time of Italy’s colonisation.

Born in Ethiopia to an Eritrean father and Ethiopian mother, Filmon Haftay met his family in Asmara almost three years ago.

This came about after the stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea came to a sudden end, ending a bloody conflict between the two countries and culminating in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Haftay, and thousands of others, finally reunited with their loved ones.

With the tense relationship between the federal government of Ethiopia and Tigray’s regional government turning into a full-scale war (involving Eritrean troops on the side of the Ethiopian National Defense Force), the conflict has left thousands dead and countless Ethiopians are either internally displaced in their own country or destitute refugees in Sudan.

“I grew up in [the] midst of conflicts, between Ethiopia and Eritrea and now with the current conflict, [I did not think that] my own children and their generation would be experiencing the same now,” Haftey says as he reflects on the conflict that has seen the United States propose sanctions against both countries.