UAE hails Ethiopia and Eritrea for peace deal
The United Arab Emirates hailed the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea on Tuesday for reaching a landmark peace deal as the two met in the UAE capital.
The UAE has close ties with the East African neighbours and, along with Gulf powerhouse Saudi Arabia, helped broker the historic rapprochement that ended decades of enmity.
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan called the peace agreement a “bold and historic step” that opens “new horizons for cooperation and joint coordination”.
The move would help “enhance security and stability in the Horn of Africa and the wider region”, Sheikh Mohammed wrote on Twitter, after awarding Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki the UAE’s highest civil order.
Recent rivals Ethiopia and Eritrea signed an agreement in Asmara on July 9 to restore ties, ending decades of conflict.
Eritrea was once part of Ethiopia and comprised its entire coastline on the Red Sea until it voted for independence in 1993 after decades of bloody conflict.
A row over the demarcation of the shared border triggered a brutal 1998-2000 conflict, which left 80,000 people dead before evolving into a bitter cold war.
In a surprise move, Abiy last month announced he would finally accept a 2002 United Nations-backed border demarcation, paving the way for peace between the two nations.
In recent years Eritrea has strengthened ties with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which has reportedly built a military base at the strategic southern port of Assab used in its operation in Yemen.
The two Gulf countries also maintain close ties with Ethiopia and in June the UAE pledged $3 billion in aid to Addis Ababa.
Just prior to the signing of the peace deal, Isaias made a foreign trip to the UAE in early July.
The UAE has for years been pushing to boost its economic presence in Africa, seeking to outdo Gulf rival Qatar in its investment and influence.