“I call on the Eritrean government to take the same stand,”Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in his inaugural address at the national parliament on Monday.
Responding to Abiy, Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Genre Meskel on Monday told the BBC that relations can be mended but it largely depended on Ethiopia.
“The ball has stayed for too long in Ethiopia’s court. There is no dispute as the litigation process ended 16 years ago. Ethiopia needs to honour its treaty obligations and respect Eritrea’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by withdrawing from occupied territories – including Badme.”
Relations between the two neighbours remain tense following a disastrous and deadly war that led to the death of nearly 70,000 people on both sides.
After the war ended back 20 years ago, the Eritrea–Ethiopia Boundary Commission, a body founded by the UN, established that Badme, the disputed territory at the heart of the conflict, belongs to Eritrea
“We are fully committed to reconcile with our Eritrean brothers and sisters” Abiy said urging the Eritrean government to do its part by starting a dialogue that would help to re-establish peaceful relationship.
“I would like to extend an invitation to the Eritrean government to start dialogue and rapport” he continued
“Peace will indeed be beneficial to the two peoples but obviously, this must be predicated on respect of international law which Ethiopia continues to flout to date,” Meskel stressed.
Mr. Abiy, the first ethnic Oromo to rise to the post of Prime Minister in the ruling EPRDF said he was willing to resolve the current problems between the two nations, which he said share the same interests and the same s blood”.
While in power, former Prime Minister Hailemariam severally accused Eritrea of supporting anti-government demonstrations in the country.