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Executive Summary for July 9th

We review the latest peace and security issues, including Eritrea and Ethiopia taking more steps towards peace, talks between South Sudan’s warring parties over a new power-sharing arrangement, and budget cuts to U.N. peacekeeping.

Published on July 9, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

 

Ethiopia and Eritrea Move to Normalize Ties, Ending Decades-Long Rivalry

Ethiopia and Eritrea agreed on Sunday to restore diplomatic and trade ties for the first time since a border war erupted between the two countries in 1998, Al Jazeera reported.

The announcement came after a historic meeting between Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki in Eritrea’s capital on Sunday. It was the first such meeting between leaders of the two countries in around 20 years.

“We agreed that the airlines will start operating, the ports will be accessible, people can move between the two countries and the embassies will be opened,” Ethiopia’s prime minister said after the meeting.

“We will demolish the wall and, with love, build a bridge between the two countries,” he added.

As many as 100,000 people died during the two-year border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. In 2000, the two countries signed a peace deal to end the conflict, but Ethiopia has been accused of ignoring the agreement, which calls on Addis Ababa return land it had taken from Eritrea.

Last month, Ethiopia’s new prime minister announced that he would honor the peace agreement, in a move that revived diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute between the two countries.

Leaders of South Sudan’s Warring Parties Reportedly Agree on Power-Sharing Arrangement

The leaders of South Sudan’s warring parties have reportedly agreed to reinstate the country’s former vice president as part of a deal to end the country’s nearly five-year-long war, Reuters reported on Saturday.

The decision was reached during peace talks in Uganda between South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar, who now leads the country’s main opposition forces.

“After a 10-hour-long meeting, the parties agreed … there will be four vice presidents and Dr. Riek Machar will be reinstated as first vice president,” South Sudan’s presidency said in a statement.

According to Reuters, the agreement “marks a potential breakthrough in new efforts … to find a power-sharing and peace agreement to end the war.”

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and about a quarter of the country’s population of 12 million has been uprooted since the conflict began in 2013, when a political disagreement between Kiir and Machar escalated into direct military confrontation.

U.N. Squeezes Peacekeeping Budget

United Nations member states agreed on June 29 to cut the organization’s annual peacekeeping budget by nearly $600 million, the Voice of America reported.

The decision will affect some of the 110,000 troops, police and civilians working in the U.N’s 16 peacekeeping missions.

The cuts come amid growing pressure from the United States, which contributes more than $2 billion annually to peacekeeping, according to VOA.

“Just five months into our time here, we’ve already been able to cut over half a billion dollars from the U.N. peacekeeping budget and we’re only getting started,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a statement after the vote.

Many missions are expected to be downsized following the budget cuts.

 

Recommended Reads:

The Economist: War. Peace. Repeat – Cease-Fires in South Sudan Seldom Last

openDemocracy: To Build Peace We Have to Ask Why People Go to War

Chatham House: Women Are at the Forefront of Challenging Extremism in Idlib

Al Jazeera: ‘We Want Peace’: A Rohingya Family’s 40 Years of Suffering

+972: How One of Palestine’s Preeminent Journalists Lost Hope for Peace

 

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