Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir revealed Thursday that he had initiated indirect talks between the leaders of both countries, bringing them on the negotiating table to discuss border disputes, proxy wars in Somalia and other political issues.
“We started some efforts to normalise the relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea,” President Bashir said, in a joint statement with Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn.
Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia after a bitterly fought independence war in 1991.
Unresolved territorial disputes between the two states thereafter escalated into a full-scale war. The Eritrean-Ethiopian war fought from 1998 to 2000 over the border town of Badme in northern Ethiopia left thousands of casualties, millions of dollars spent and only minor border changes.
Both Addis Ababa and Asmara continue to trade accusations of supporting rebel groups against each other.
These proxy wars took an international dimension when the Ethiopian army invaded Somalia in 2011 to shore up the interim government against Islamist rebels – who were funded by Eritrea according to a UN report.
President Bashir said Sudan, based on its “friendly relations with both countries”, could promote healthy and neutral discussions between the two adversaries.
“I will call the two presidents to hold a summit in Khartoum in the [near future]” Mr Bashir said.