Yemen, Eritrea overcome past grievances, discuss Horn peace
AP Worldstream; Dec 10, 2004
In a rare and
strategic visit, the Yemeni and Eritrean leaders concluded talks Friday on
cooperation in fighting terrorism in the Horn of Africa and settling conflicts
between countries in the region.
Ali Abdullah Saleh said the three-day talks helped in "removing a lot of
misunderstanding," according to the official Saba news agency.
President Isaias Afwerki said he received a pledge from Yemen to mediate
between his country and rivals Sudan and Ethiopia. Eritrea had earlier accused
the three countries of forming an alliance against it.
their conflicts, Eritrea and Yemen will be signing a number of treaties of
cooperation in the fields of security, investments and commerce, and culture,
the official Saba news agency reported Friday.
The two nations
discussed counterterrorism and coordinated stances on serving security and
stability in the region, Saba added.
agreement on fishing in the southern part of the Red Sea _ a thorny issue that
has plagued the two countries' relations _ was signed. The agreement envisages
the establishment of an independent investment company with equally shared
capital between Eritrea and Yemen to organize fishing in the region.
various agreements will be inked in Asmara on Dec. 24, Saleh said.
happened was in the past and we should not be pulled toward it," Saleh
said of relations with Eritrea. "It has to go away with its negative
issues and we have to start anew the relations that we consider
Saleh added that
in a meeting with Sudan and Ethiopia next month he will "carry a message
as a mediator."
"I tell the
brothers in Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea that everyone should accept the
other," he said.
Eritrea of backing southern Sudanese rebels who have been fighting a civil war
against the Sudanese army since 1983 _ a charge Eritrea denies. Eritrea also
fought a border war with Ethiopia between 1998 and 2000 that killed tens of
quoted as saying he is not sensitive to Yemen's alliance with the two countries
_ a significant change of heart _ and thanked Saleh for his mediation.
The Horn of
Africa traditionally includes Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia;
to the north, Yemen is separated from the region by the Gulf of Aden and the
Red Sea. The region has been plagued with civil wars, interstate conflicts, and
is considered a hotbed for Islamic militancy.