A peace that is formal, transparent and of tangible benefit to the peoples of both countries is required.
The historically fraught relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea is deteriorating once again. A seemingly momentous peace deal that brought the two sides together in 2018 now appears to have been a brief interlude in a longer arc of enduring rivalry. The sources of recent tension include Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s public posturing around sea access and dynamics seeded by the 2018 peace deal itself. Neither side can afford escalation, but open conflict remains a possibility and even outcomes well short of direct hostilities — perhaps a return to the “no war, no peace” situation of preceding decades — would be disastrous for the two nations and the broader region.
Concerned international actors should act urgently to deescalate tensions between Abiy and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki; but over the longer term only a transparent, inclusive and well-institutionalized framework for Ethiopia-Eritrea ties can deliver sustainable peace.