OAU: More Hope Than Ever for Peace in the Horn of Africa
The head of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) has said that prospects for peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea are "much brighter than they have ever been."
Salim Ahmed Salim was speaking late Friday after a meeting with Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, chief of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), which will monitor a ceasefire between the two countries.
"The prospects for peace are certainly much brighter than they have ever been," Salim said.
Legwaila said it now important for both sides to break down the climate of mistrust between them.
"They have shared blood on both sides, therefore there is mistrust, we have to help them to bridge that mistrust so they can again realize that they have to live together in this part of the Africa in peace."
The United Nations is to send troops to the region in the coming weeks to monitor a ceasefire signed on June 18 in Algiers aimed at ending a two-year war over disputed border territory between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
An OAU-mediated peace plan allows for the deployment of UNMEE forces, totaling 4,200 men, in a buffer zone which will extend along the border 25 kilometers (15 miles) into Eritrea.
It also calls for the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from areas deep inside Eritrea, beyond the border regions which were at the root of the fighting that broke out in May 1998.
Tens of thousands of people, most of them soldiers from both sides, were killed in the war, which has displaced more than 1.2 million people -- ADDID ABABA (AFP)
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