2014-09-24
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South Sudan Calls On Ethiopia and Eritrea to Resolve Disputes

Sudan Tribune
South Sudan's Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Barnaba Marial has called on Ethiopia and Eritrea to return to the negotiating table to resolve their long-standing border dispute through peaceful means.

Although relative peace and stability has returned in the volatile east African region, Marial said the stalemate on the frontier between Ethiopia and Eritrea remains a major concern for regional peace.

The South Sudanese foreign Minister made the remarks while addressing the congregation at memorial service held on Tuesday in Addis Ababa to commemorate one year since the death of former Ethiopian Prime minister, Meles Zenawi.

Marial cited the peace achieved in Sudan and South Sudan as well as the relative stability gained Somalia as cases in point to show that the region was getting more stable and peaceful.

However the South Sudan Foreign Affairs minister said the standoff between Ethiopian and Eritrea is one challenge that needs to be addressed.

"We would love to see Ethiopia and Eritrea shoulder to shoulder and smiling together once again", he said.

In 1998 Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a two year bloody border war that killed over 70,000 people.

The two countries ended fighting in 2000 under a cease-fire agreement signed in Algeria allowing an international boundary commission to rule on the disputed border.

In an April 2002 ruling, the commission awarded the disputed town of Badme to Eritrea however Addis Ababa refused to accept the ruling and kept its troops in the town insisting on further talks to resolve the dispute.

Eritrea refused to engage in further talks with Ethiopia and relations between the two neighbours has since remained strained.

Ethiopia's current Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, who assumed power after his predecessor Meles Zenawi died in August last year said he is willing to travel to Asmara for peace talks with his Eritrean counterpart.

Some African countries including Africa's newest state, South Sudan, have proposed to broker peace talks between the two countries. However no peace talks is yet to take place. But South Sudan's Barnaba Marial said he is optimistic that Ethiopia and Eritrea will peacefully resolve their conflicts.

"We are hopeful for the best outcome and for the sake of peace in our region", Marial said.





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