Timeline: Agreement in Jeddah ends hostilities between Eritrea and Ethiopia

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Eritrean soldiers guard the border with Ethiopia in February 1999. (AFP)
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Updated 17 September 2018
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Timeline: Agreement in Jeddah ends hostilities between Eritrea and Ethiopia

Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a peace agreement in Jeddah on Sunday overseen by King Salman.

The following is a timeline of the African countries’ relations.

* 1952 - Eritrea is officially federated with Ethiopia two years after the United Nations approved a resolution backing a bid by Emperor Haile Selassie.

* 1962 - Haile Selassie dissolves the arrangement and annexes Eritrea. A year earlier, a small group of  Eritreans launched the war for independence that stretched for three decades.

* 1991 - The rebel Eritrean People’s Liberation Front led by Isaias Afwerki captures Asmara, having fought Ethiopia’s military leader, Mengistu Haile Mariam, alongside rebels from the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The EPRDF invades the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa and topples Mengistu.

* 1993 - Eritrea formally secedes from Ethiopia after a referendum and Isaias Afwerki is appointed president. Eritrea initially enjoys warm ties with Ethiopia, which is led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and is dominated by his TPLF group for the next two decades.

Villagers welcome Eritreans deported from Ethiopia in 1999. (AFP)

* 1998 - After two years of tensions over trade and other issues, clashes break out along the border over ownership of the disputed town of Badme, before evolving into a full-scale war. More than 70,000 Ethiopian citizens of Eritrean origin are expelled from Ethiopia.

* 2000 - A peace agreement is signed, brokered by the Organisation of African Unity - the precursor of the African Union - with both sides agreeing to accept an arbitration ruling. An estimated 80,000 people are thought to have died during the two-year war.

* 2002 - A Hague-based boundary commission hands Badme to Eritrea, but Ethiopia calls for dialogue and says it wants to hold discussions with Asmara before implementing the ruling, which Eritrea rejects. A standoff prevails.

A Canadian United Nation peacekeeper monitors the redeployment of Ethiopian tanks leaving from the Eritrean town of Senafe in 2001 after Ethiopia agreed to withdraw its troops to a buffer zone. (AFP)

* 2012 - Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi, Eritrea’s former ally-turned-foe, dies.

* February 2018 - After three years of street unrest and violent protests, Meles’ successor, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, resigns in what he describes as a bid to smooth reforms.

* April 2018 - Former army officer Abiy Ahmed is appointed as Ethiopian premier and vows to seek peace with Eritrea. In June, the 41-year-old announces that Ethiopia would honour the provisions of the 2000 peace deal and the boundary commission ruling delivered two years later. He visits Asmara a month later and signs a pact on the resumption of ties. The two nations declare an end to their “state of war”.

* July 2018 - Abiy and Afwerki sign a pact  declaring an end to their “state of war” in Eritrea’s capital Asmara.

* September 2018 - Abiy and Afwerki sign the Jeddah Peace Agreement in Saudi Arabia during a ceremony overseen by King Salman.

 


Saudi Arabia, UAE to attend US-led Palestine investment meeting

Updated 23 May 2019
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Saudi Arabia, UAE to attend US-led Palestine investment meeting

  • The Palestine Liberation Organization and Islamist group Hamas have called for an Arab boycott of the meeting
  • Saudi Arabia has assured Arab allies that it will not endorse any US plan that fails to meet key Palestinian demands

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE will participate in a conference next month in Bahrain aimed at encouraging investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as part of US President Donald Trump’s long–awaited Israel–Palestine peace plan. 

The Peace to Prosperity conference, to be hosted on June 25–26 in cooperation with the US, has already been rebuffed by Palestinian officials and business leaders, who want their political demands met by any proposed solution to the conflict.

The Palestine Liberation Organization and Islamist group Hamas have called for an Arab boycott of the meeting.

The Saudi minister of economy and planning, Mohammed bin Majid Al–Tuwaijri, will attend, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said Abu Dhabi would also send a delegation.

The Palestinian Authority has boycotted American peace efforts since late 2017, when Trump decided to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized the latter as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of US policy.

The Trump administration has sought to enlist support from Arab governments.

But Saudi Arabia has assured Arab allies that it will not endorse any US plan that fails to meet key Palestinian demands, which include affirming East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, the right of return for refugees, and a freeze on Israeli settlement construction.