Ethiopia will “fully accept and implement” a peace agreement with Eritrea that was signed in 2000, its ruling coalition announced on Tuesday.
The Horn of Africa neighbours have remained at odds since a 1998-2000 war over a disputed town that a boundary commission subsequently handed to Asmara but which Addis Ababa rejected.
Asmara has long felt betrayed by world powers, who they say failed to force Ethiopia, now with a population of 97 million, to abide by the boundary arbitration ruling. Ethiopia long said it wanted talks on implementation, which Asmara refused.
The war between the two Horn of Africa nations, often plagued by famine and drought and among the world’s poorest countries, erupted in May 1998 when Eritrea invaded what Ethiopia considered its territory.
Tens of thousands of soldiers died in brutal, sporadic fighting and tens of thousands were taken prisoner or displaced from their homes before a ceasefire took hold in June.
Eritrea, on the Red Sea coast, was a province of Ethiopia, its much larger landlocked neighbour to the south, before winning its independence by referendum in 1993, with Ethiopian support.