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

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, South Korea reach agreement on visas

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 16 January 2019

Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas

  • Cabinet OKs air transport pact with Indonesia

JEDDAH: The Saudi Cabinet met to discuss a series of national and global developments on Tuesday, in a session chaired by King Salman.

At the forefront of the agenda was the escalation in tensions between Israel and Hamas along the Gaza border, and the continuing encroachment on Palestinian land by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The Cabinet responded by demanding that the UN Security Council intervene. King Salman also relayed to ministers the outcome of his talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which covered many regional issues.

The minister of media, Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah, announced that after reviewing proposals from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a decision from the Shoura Council, a memorandum of understanding between the government and the Republic of Korea on granting visit visas had been agreed upon.

The Cabinet approved the amendment of the air agreement on regular air transport between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

The Cabinet, meanwhile, praised the progress of the 2025 Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development Program, aimed at enhancing farming techniques by promoting sustainable water and renewable energy sources.

They also discussed the framework in Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020 for building a sustainable renewable energy sector, reiterating aims to lead global renewable energy developments over the next decade, and create projects such as the wind-powered plant at Dumat Al-Jandal, as part of the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative.

In a statement, though, Al-Shabanah said: “The Cabinet discussed the announcement made by the minister of energy, industry and mineral resources about the Kingdom’s oil and gas reserves, which highlighted the importance of Saudi Arabia as a secure source of oil supplies in the long term.”

He added, in closing, the Cabinet’s praise for the efforts of Saudi security forces in the tracking and arrest of seven people in Qatif, which foiled a planned terrorist attack.