Eritrea Says Solving Ethiopian Crisis Key to Regional Progress

Eritrea Says Solving Ethiopian Crisis Key to Regional Progress

By Samuel Gebre

January 24, 2018, 5:22 AM EST

(bloomberg) —-Eritrea’s president said Ethiopia, which has been rocked by two years of sporadic protests, must solve its political crisis if the two neighbors are to mend relations and spur development in the Horn of Africa.

“The people of Ethiopia defiantly have to reevaluate the future of their country and decide how they will proceed without any intervention from external powers,” President Isaias Afwerki told local media this month, according to a transcript on the Information Ministry’s website. “For both countries to fully be able to seize future opportunities, first the current crisis in Ethiopia has to be straightened out.”

Ethiopia had seen sporadic, often deadly protests since late 2015 and temporarily enacted a state of emergency due to the unrest that was mainly in the central Oromia region. The government this month freed more than 100 political detainees, including an opposition party chairman, as steps it said would “establish a national consensus and widen the political sphere.”

Eritrea achieved independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after decades of armed struggle. The two countries fought again in 1998-2000 over the disputed territory of Badme in a conflict that left at least 50,000 people dead. Relations remain tense.