The politics of the Horn of Africa is in the process of rapid change and with salutary implications- Ethiopian Ambassador

Tekeda Alemu is an Ethiopian diplomat to the United Nations

The Security Council today received the 120 day’s briefing by the Chair of the Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee, including the outcome of his recent visit to the region which took him to Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia. Below is the statement delivered by H.E. Ambassador Tekeda Alemu at the briefing session highlighting the positive developments happening in the region, which has enormous implication for the committee and the sanctions regime.


Mr. President,

I want to thank Ambassador Kairat for his briefing and for his dedicated efforts in guiding the work of the Committee. We appreciate the outcome of his visit to the region, which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Of course, a lot of things have happened since the Chair’s visit and these have enormous implications for the work of this Committee and,in a number of ways,indeed for the sanctions regime as well.It is downright impossible to deny that the politics of the Horn of Africa is in the process rapid change and with salutary implications. All this is the result of the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea which would have been thought to be inconceivable only a few months ago.

What has happened over the last couple of weeks is indeed historic. After twenty years hiatus, Ethiopia and Eritrea have decided to turn the page and open a new chapter of not just in the normalization of relations, but in the expression of commitment to build relations which truly reflect the longstanding ties between their peoples.

What was once considered impossible has been made possible thanks to the courageous and bold steps taken by the leadership of the two countries. The Ethiopia and Eritrean people who have been longing for peace for two decades have warmly welcomed this breakthrough with a lot of jubilation and optimism. Gone are the days when no one could be sure how long the guns would continue to be silent between the two countries.

This, as already indicated, has enormous meaning and significance not only for the peoples of the two countries but also for the region which has been ravaged by conflict and crisis for far too long. It will also have a major and historic contribution to the efforts being made to silencing the guns in Africa setting an example in the resolution of conflicts.

There is no question the region would be in a far better position to contribute to peace in Somalia. IGAD would be more effective in bringing the countries of the region together to work for peace and regional cooperation in all areas much better than hitherto.

It is in this broader context that we want the Council to understand what is happening between Ethiopia and Eritrea. This wind of change has been welcomed by the region and beyond. No doubt, the positive momentum generated over the last couple of weeks must be sustained and the international community has a responsibility to support the efforts by the two countries and we believe this Council has a particular responsibility in this regard.

Already, the improved relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea seem to have facilitated the restoration of the friendly relations between Eritrea and Somalia as became evident when the President of Somalia,Mr.Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed( Farmajo), paid a state visit to Eritrea a few days ago. It is impossible to ignore that this is a major boost for progress in the stabilization of the situation in Somalia.The Council must appreciate the significance of this development for the security of the region.

Mr. President,

It appears to us very proper that the Council supports and encourages the bold steps taken by the Ethiopian Prime Minister. This has underlined how much doing things outside the box is necessary to break logjams in conflict situations no matter how those might have been intractable in the past. If there is indeed a recognition of the broader context that I have tried to explain in the foregoing, I do not think it would be difficult to find innovative ways of acknowledging the significance of this development in our region.

At a time when the resolution of conflicts is becoming very complex and we have come to acknowledge how much the prevention of conflicts should be prioritized,the breakthrough for peace achieved between Ethiopia and Eritrea is no doubt something to be celebrated.It is Ethiopia’s conviction that this welcome development is not meant to be limited to the relations between the two countries.

I want to take this opportunity to assure you, Mr. President, that the prevailing spirit is one of embracing and not excluding anyone. It is in this spirit that we are trying to do our part to contribute toward the restoration friendly relations between t Djibouti and Eritrea . The Djibouti Foreign Minister was in Addis Ababa last week to deliver the message of President Guelleh to my Prime Minister and he was able to conduct very productive and useful discussions, both with our Prime Minister and his counterpart, our Foreign Minister.

Ethiopia has expressed its readiness to do whatever is necessary to contribute to the normalization of relations between Eritrea and Djibouti and it is our firm commitment this is critical for peace and security in our region. The new spirit that has been created should exclude no country and this is the foundation on which Ethiopia’s policy is based. Naturally, this new spirit also demands that no country should no longer be isolated. The Council has an obligation here.

Let me conclude by expressing our readiness to working closely with the Council in the coming months towards sustaining this remarkable achievement which has enormous implications for the peace and prosperity of the Horn of Africa and even beyond.

I thank you.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia

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