Ending Africas Wars: Progressing to Peace

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As the most stable country in the Horn, Djibouti has been a natural alternative for Ethiopia, although recently Addis Ababa has also made overtures to Somalia and Somaliland for the use of Berbera port.

Second Sudanese Civil War

At the same time, tensions between Somalia and Somaliland about the use of Berbera port will seem less urgent if Ethiopia is able to develop a workable alternative through Eritrea. In June, Mogadishu accused Hargeisa of violating the conditions of semi-autonomy by entering into an agreement with Ethiopia over the development and use of the port, which they argue should have been approved at the federal level.

The tension forced Ethiopian diplomats to backtrack on commitments to direct trade through Berbera. With peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia, both of whom stand to gain immensely from normalisation of their relationship, the tension between Somalia and Somaliland will perhaps dissipate, at the very least taking another point of contention off the table. None of this should overshadow the human element of this declaration - the fundamental reason why this matters.

Like India and Pakistan, or Sudan and South Sudan, the border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea has torn families and communities apart, particularly those living along the border. The political separation was further entrenched by the severing of communication ties and travel bans, making any dialogue between the citizens of the two countries impossible. As mentioned above, militarisation of public life in both countries has significantly distorted networks of trust within communities and a key hope is that the end of the Ethiopia-Eritrea war will feed into a broader process of demilitarisation in both countries.

The images of joyful Eritreans and Ethiopians receiving this news is a reminder that war happens to people and to communities, and the end of war is always cause for celebration for everyone. Of course, it is far too early to make definitive declarations of what the future holds for these two countries. Yet, while cynicism has value in political thought, and especially when history provides ample examples of good faith gone bad, it is important to be as ready to accept good news as the bad.

Independently of what happens moving forward, this is a special moment for East Africa that must be cherished and encouraged. For those of us who are neither Ethiopian nor Eritrean, this is a timely reminder that within the politics of a complicated region, sometimes good things do happen.

US Cheers South Sudan’s Progress Toward Peace, Expects 'Long Process' | Voice of America - English

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial stance. Nanjala Nyabola is a political analyst and the author of the forthcoming book "Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics". We dialled more than 35, random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

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Why the Eritrea-Ethiopia peace is good for African politics The peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia is a radical act that will have an impact on all of East Africa. Have your say. Give us feedback. It is unclear if negotiators have a new strategy to successfully resurrect that agreement or if they are simply out of ideas. What is clear is that there is no end in sight for the current negotiations, even as fighting rages on into a fifth year and aid agencies report that 9, people are estimated to be losing access to food every day.

Set to come into force on Christmas Eve, the deal was the first hopeful sign in months. With the backing of international players, IGAD had overseen initial negotiations to end the conflict that emerged in December out of a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar. Those earlier efforts had resulted in more than a half-dozen cease-fire deals and, in , a detailed agreement to end the conflict, known as the ARCSS.


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Its demise also kicked off a new round of fighting, which has been marked by horrific brutalities committed against civilians, further defections from the government and the continued splintering of the opposition. Fighting was reported within days of the Christmas Eve cease-fire going into effect. Despite the failure of that agreement, the HLRF forged ahead with a second round of negotiations that ended in mid-February.

Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute

The new talks were centered on resuscitating the ARCSS and setting a revised and realistic timeline for holding elections, but ended without either. IGAD announced that some progress was made on responsibility-sharing and security aspects, but acknowledged that more discussions were needed on both points, necessitating additional talks. Observers are justifiably skeptical the parties will ever reach a deal. To begin with, some members of the opposition are demanding the Kiir government cede significant power to a transitional government in the period leading up to new elections.

Kiir has demonstrated little inclination to meet those demands. Observers are justifiably skeptical that the various parties in South Sudan will ever reach a deal. With the number of actors having proliferated since the original ARCSS stalled, the demands and counterdemands are likely to grow. While a collection of at least nine opposition groups has agreed to negotiate as an alliance, their coalition does not include rebels still loyal to Machar or a group headed by former high-level officials who were detained by the government at the outset of the conflict.

Accommodating all of their different demands could swamp the negotiators. The government and, to a lesser degree, rebel groups have been accused of horrific attacks against civilian populations.