Ceaseless endeavor for peace
Although it is so many times quoted, it is still worth to be repeatedly uttered that Nelson Mandela said, “I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself”. In the same token the Ethiopian visionary leader Meles Zenawi said, “I have no problem talking to anybody so long as it helps the purpose of peace”.
Although peace is incomparable to nix in this earthly life, it seems hard to bring lasting peace in the continent in general and the Horn of Africa in particular. The situation in Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea could be typical confirmations for this argument.
Instability in those countries lasted for long and that has undeniable impact in the entire region. Since the past twenty six years, Ethiopia has been exerting efforts to bring lasting peace in the Horn of Africa.
Ethiopia, in collaboration with other African countries keeping peace in Somalia under the auspice of African Mission for Somalia (AMISOM), it has been sacrificing for the blossoming of peace in the Horn Region in particular and Africa in general.
As part and parcel of its effort for regional peace, Ethiopia contributes for the thriving of peace in South Sudan in collaboration with other stakeholders when the country was under political turmoil. It was just within a few years after the nations’ secession from the Sudan in July 2011.
According to United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), as of July 2016 UNMISS had 13, 500 soldiers with Ethiopian troops consisting of the larges contingent. The number of Ethiopian soldiers in that country is estimated to more than 8 thousand.
In fact, the international community would witness that Ethiopia is devoted for peace through its contribution in peacekeeping activities of the United Nations Security Council in different African countries in addition to its commitment for lasting peace in neighboring countries like South Sudan and Somalia.
When South Sudanese were at a critical time due to the flaring that caused the death of tens of thousands of citizens and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people away from their home to neighboring countries, Ethiopia was at the forefront in helping the South Sudanese people.
According to United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), about 2.2 million people were displaced due to the war between the two rivals in 2013-2015. It failed to sustain its stability and for the first time in history chosen by both South Sudanese rivals to intermediate their issues.
It is crystal clear that the two rivals chose Ethiopia to mediate them due to the country’s devotion for peace in Africa and its loyalty strong stand for the revival of peace in the region. That responsibility shouldered by both conflicting parts was not an easy responsibility for Ethiopia.
Accordingly, Ethiopia remained loyal to the responsibility it shouldered. On one hand, Ethiopia deployed its soldiers to South Sudan and on the other hand it opened its boarder for the South Sudanese citizens feeling away from their homeland.
The political power struggle, between President Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar, was broke out in December 2013, just in two years of the country’s cessation from the Sudan.
Due to efforts made by the Ethiopian government, the rivals reached a ceasefire agreement In January 2014 that would be followed by several more ceasefire agreements. Then, a peace agreement was signed in 2015 in Ethiopia.
The dual purpose Ethiopia has been playing since the chaos country has continued: persistent move to bring lasting peace in that country and hosting hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese refugees.
The poverty stricken Horn of Africa has also remained being one of the volatile areas in Africa. Poverty coupled with cross country and civil conflicts added fuel to the misery of the people. Since the fall of the military rule in Ethiopia, the government of Ethiopia has set three basic agendas: poverty alleviation through ensuring sustainable development, ensuring an enduring peace and building democracy through both fundamental and democratic rights.
This landmark agenda of the country could be a reality if and only if Ethiopia managed to maintain peace both at internal and external levels. If there is no peace in any of the countries in the region, it significantly affects the entire region.
The peace problems in Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea have become threat to all countries in the Horn. In such situations there won’t be any trade and investment cooperation among neighboring countries, there won’t be any people movement and market exchanges even at borders.
It is not easy at this time of globalization for one country to develop its economy while its neighboring countries have engaged in wars and conflicts. Sustainable economic development could be a reality if and only peace and stability is guaranteed.
That is one of the sole reasons why the government of Ethiopia has been exerting such irreplaceable sacrifices to ensure peace at home and lend a hand to neighboring countries in their efforts to maintain peace.
It is public secret that Ethiopia has been struggling to change the volatile Horn Africa to peaceful and stable region. Its sacrifices in Somalia, in South Sudan and other African countries is a real justification for this argument. As a result, there is a better situation in the region nowadays than some decades ago.
One of the significant change in this regard is the we can approach already created among the people of the Horn of Africa in particular and the continent in general. Now most African countries believe that they could solve African problems by themselves and that is why they are attempting to solve the problems in South Sudan by themselves and Ethiopia is the sole partner.