Global Policy Forum

Eritrea Accepts OAU Modalities

Panafrican News Agency
July 15, 1999

Dakar, Senegal - The Eritrean government said it accepted fresh modalities for the implementation of the OAU Framework Agreement, aimed at ending the border war with Ethiopia.

Eritrea announced the move immediately after African leaders at the 35th OAU summit proposed the modalities Wednesday in Algiers, Algeria. The document was presented to Eritrean and Ethiopian leaders by a delegation, led by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki outlined his government's understanding of the Framework Agreement, saying: "On the basis of this understanding and in the interests of peace, which we owe not only to the people of Eritrea but...also to the people of Ethiopia and our continent as a whole, and as a mark of goodwill to the OAU, Eritrea has decided to accept the Modalities for the Implementation of the Framework Agreement."

"In accepting the Framework and Modalities, Eritrea hopes to make its small contribution to the realisation of the lofty objective proposed by the newly elected president of Africa's giant, Nigeria, Gen. (Olusegun) Obasanjo," he added.

Isaias said his country knows the bitterness of war and also the taste of the fruits of peace. "It has absolutely no interest, and sees no advantage, in war," he emphasised. "Our Ethiopia neighbours may pride themselves on the size of their country and population, but the experience of Algeria, which inspired us when we launched our own liberation struggle - a lesson of the decolonisation of the continent of Africa, points to pitfalls in that thinking. More importantly, here in Africa, leave alone the poorer among us, the richest in our midst can ill afford war." He then called for putting "this sad chapter behind us and work for peace." Isaias said though the road to peace may not be ease, "but that with determination and the support of Africa and the world at large, there is no reason we cannot succeed."

The modalities call on the two parties to reaffirm their commitment to the principle of the non-use of force to settle disputes and commit themselves to implement Framework Agreement in good faith. The seven-point document urged Eritrea to withdraw its forces outside the territories they occupied after 6 May, 1998, and that the two parties agree to end military activities and hostile expressions, likely to provoke renewed fighting. The modalities also call on them to accept the deployment of military observers by the OAU in cooperation with the UN to supervise the redeployment of troops following cessation of hostilities.

The leaders of the two countries have been asked to sign a formal cease-fire agreement, which provides for the detailed modalities for the implementation of the Framework Agreement.

More Information on Eritrea and Ethiopia


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