Ethiopia-Eritrea peace is answered prayers says Bishops
The Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), has said that the peace treaty and end to hostilities between Ethiopia and Eritrea is news it has received ‘with great joy’ following an peace pact signed on 9 July by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki in the Eritrean capital, Asmara.
The East Africa Bishops, in a statement on 22 July said the signing of the peace agreement that has brought the two over 20 years war to an end, shows “that Africans have the wisdom to solve their own problems amicably.”
The Church leaders pleaded with both countries saying “As this process of reconciliation continues, the Catholic Church urges the stakeholders to ensure that justice and peace are restored and let the peoples of these countries be involved in the process, their voices heard and captives returned to their families,” the East African Bishops stated.
The Catholic Church leaders from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, Djibouti and Somalia, who met in a ten day conference from 13 July in Addis Ababa said through out the conflicts “the Catholic Church in both countries had been raising their voice to denounce the fraternal conflict and war, prayed together and gave hope to the people throughout by remaining firm to solve the situation peacefully and showing solidarity with the peoples of both countries,” and they are now glad that their prayers have been answered and the conflict is over.
The Bishops pleaded with indigenous tribes to avoid “any form of manipulation of differences in our region that undermines the dignity of the human person.”
The Catholic Bishops also prayed “for the quick resolution of the conflict so as to alleviate the suffering of the people and end the loss of innocent lives” in South Sudan which has claimed many lives in the young nation and said they are encouraged by the signing of a peace agreement between the government and rebel forces.
Almost 100, 000 people have been killed between 1998-2000 in a fierce border during a fierce border conflict since Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia.
The church leaders, also taking into cognisance the enviromental challenges that have compounded famine in the region pleaded for proper environmental stewardship to preserve the environment and natural resources of the region. “We must engage in honest, transparent, constructive dialogue based on the principles of solidarity, subsidiarity, working for the common good, universal destination of goods, and preferential option for the poor and for the earth,” the bishops said. “Let everyone knows that the mother earth is our common home” and must be cared for. The Bishops declared.
Hassan John is West Africa Editor GCN and priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos