Eritrea accepts OAU plan to end war with Ethiopia
July 15, 1999
From staff and wire reports
Writing to the president of Algeria, Abdulaziz Bouteflika, Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki said in a letter dated July 14 that Eritrea accepts the OAU's 'framework agreement,' which calls for a cease-fire and withdrawal of troops from areas of dispute.
There was no word yet from Ethiopia, which diplomats said was still studying the proposals presented during an OAU summit in Algiers.
"We have accepted the framework proposal as a whole and clarified a few items we thought were ambiguous," Tesfa Alem Seyoum, a diplomat at Eritrea's U.N. mission said.
"This must work as this is the most balanced and fair approach that could bring us to peace," he added.
Formal cease-fire still must be signed
The redeployment of troops is to begin "immediately after the cessation of hostilities," according to the settlement agreement. Civilian administration and population "shall be worked out after the cessation of hostilities."
Both parties would accept the deployment of military observers "in cooperation with the United Nations."
But the proposal is no done deal: A formal cease-fire agreement would have to be signed by representatives of both sides first. There was no immediate reaction available from representatives of Ethiopia.
Afwerki added that "Undoing damage done by the conflict does not only require redeployment, but more importantly addressing the humanitarian dimensions of the conflict. In this regard, it is imperative to fully compensate the deportees, if not for the irreparable harm done to them, at least for expropriated property..."
It was not immediately clear whether the request for compensation was a firm one, nor was it clear how Ethiopia would respond to the request.
The two former allies in the Horn of Africa went to war in May 1998. Ethiopia since then has demanded a withdrawal from land Eritrea occupied while Eritrea has argued that Ethiopia had moved into its territory before May 6.
Reuters contributed to this report.
African leaders make push for Eritrea-Ethiopia peace
Organization of African Unity Homepage
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