President Isaias meets with Peace Corps team

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President Isaias meets with Peace Corps team

President Isaias meets with Peace Corps team

President Isaias meets with Peace Corps team

June 12, 1999

President Isaias meets with Peace Corps team

President Isaias Afwerki yesterday met a team of returned Peace Corps volunteers who are on a peace mission to Eritrea and Ethiopia.

President Isaias thanked the members of the team for undertaking the peace mission at this crucial moment and expressed the hope that this informal initiative from people with sentimental attachment to both countries will have significant contribution to the peace endeavours underway.

In regard to Eritrea"s readiness for peace, President Isaias underlined to the team that Eritrea"s position form the outset was for the renunciation of the use of force to solve a border dispute.

In this spirit, the President explained that, Eritrea has consistently called for the cessation of hostilities in the different forums and is willing to observe an immediate cease-fire as stipulated by the resolutions of the UN Security Council, the OAU and the international community at large.

President Isaias mentioned that Eritrea has in fact gone beyond this when it publicly stated in January this year that "it will not fire the first bullet" although it reserves the legitimate right to self-defence when and if attacked. He, moreover, told members of the Peace Corps team that Eritrea has accepted the OAU Framework and is ready to implement all its provisions in good faith.

President Isais also underlined that Ethiopia"s obstruction of peace either through the introduction of new preconditions or arguments of "the restoration of status quo ante that existed before May 6, 1998" are not tenable. "The status quo constitutes, and cannot be other than, the respect of colonial treaties and associated boundaries," President Isaias underscored. He elaborated that the status quo ante refers to the reality that existed before any violation of the colonial boundaries. This is in fact duly addressed in the OAU Framework as operative paragraph 7 has provisions for investigating all the events and violations that led to the current crisis. As regards administration, President Isaias said that this issue cannot, likewise, be a bone of contention as administration cannot, in the legal sense, be divorced from sovereignty and he pointed out that the Framework Agreement has provisions for all these issues and the ambiguities were clarified through the written statement of the OAU High-Level Delegation to Eritrea on January 26, 1999;

Furthermore, the President reiterates Eritrea"s readiness to redeploy form the entire boundary in accordance with the provisions of the Framework Agreement as well as to cooperate in any way it can to promote the peace process. "In this spirit, Eritrea welcomes direct talks at any level," he said .

The Peace Corps team members expressed their faith in the potential of both countries and the Horn of Africa region as a whole. In this regard, they stressed that peace was a pre-requisite for development and increased investment. The members of the team stressed that they will do their utmost to give an impetus to the peace process.

The team is composed of Judge William Canby, Mr. Mike McCaskey, Mr. John Garamendi, Mr. Charles Dambach and Mr. Melvin Foote. The team will leave Asmara tomorrow for Addis Ababa.

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Story Source: Eritrea

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Eritrea; Peace Makers



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