Resolve differencesYemen and Eritrea get new life [Archives:2004/798/Front Page]

December 13 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
Yemen and Eritrea have agreed to resolve a dispute over fishing in the Red Sea.
The two countries agreed to erase past differences and turn a new page of relationships, according to
President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Eritrean President Isayas Afwerki, who visited Saleh in Sana'a last week.
The differences between the two countries were just momentary, according to Afwerki.
President Saleh emphasized the importance of entering a new phase of relations based on historic bonds. He described the relations between Yemen and Eritrea as “excellent.”
He added that misunderstanding of the past was resolved through a new fishing agreement.
“Yemen and Eritrea have declared their intention to sign eight other agreements during the meeting of the joint committee in Asmara slated for January 24, 2005 in the fields of investment, double taxation, culture, trade, and security,” said Saleh.
“President Saleh also stated that he would deliver a message to the Sana'a Gathering (Yemen, Sudan and Ethiopia) leaders in their next meeting in Khartoum by the end of this month concerning their relations with Eritrea.
“Each of them should accept the other, and replace the language of violence with that of dialogue,” Saleh said.
President Saleh pointed out that the Sana'a Gathering is not against Eritrea. “It is an economic gathering open to all.”
He expressed his hope that peace would be restored to the region so that efforts are focused on fighting poverty and achieving integration and partnership.
President Afwerki described the signing of the partnership fishing agreement as a big achievement. He said there is now better understanding after the previous experience and resolution of past problems.
“The conception of the two countries of the regional and international issues has become more firm than ever because the situation in the area necessitates developing a secure atmosphere to implement joint project in investment and other fields,” said Afwerki.
“We will work together seriously, and cooperate in security matters both with Yemen and other countries of the region,” he added.
The Eritrean president said he did not think that Sana'a Gathering targets Eritrea.
“Any coalition that serves the people and maintains their security does not worry Asmara.”
President Afwerki said relations with Eritrea's neighbors are based on respect for law, denying having any disputes with Sudan and Ethiopia.
“We have resolved border disputes with Ethiopia by means of agreements signed in Algeria. A court was set up for the purpose and issued a binding verdict.” Yet he admitted that Ethiopia hesitated to implement the judgment.
He stressed that it is imperative to sort out this problem, hoping that president Saleh's message will persuade Ethiopian leaders to implement the ratified agreement, and invoke the international community's help for doing that.
He added: “The historic relations between Yemen and Eritrea will create a desirable atmosphere in the region,” hoping that president's Saleh efforts will save the area from terrorism and create an investment-fostering environment in the Horn of Africa and Southern Arabia.
The Eritrean president arrived in Sana'a December 8 and left on Dec. 10, accompanied by a delegation including ministers of foreign affairs, information, and development and commander of marine forces as well as director of Middle East Department in the ministry of foreign affairs and the president office manager for Arab affairs.
Results of the deliberations between the two leaders have indisputably shown that the recent visit has revitalized brotherly relations between the tow adjacent countries, and pushed the limits of mutual cooperation through the expected eight agreements.