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Both the guerrilla mote free trade, to coorganisations –– EPRDF ordinate their monetary and the EPLF, now PFDJ policies, and to work to –– were transformed into harmonise their relatransitional governments tionships in the fields of whose leaders presided the agriculture, transover the two countries’ port and natural post-war political and ecoresources and to nomic reconstruction. It advance gradually was this friendly relations toward a combined ecobetween the leaders of the nomic unit.”7 The relationship two organisations that between both the counfacilitated the emergence tries during these years of an interdependent relacan be termed as one of tionship between both the friendship and cordialicountries during the inity, which was unparaltial years. leled. With the achievement Leaders of the two of de-facto independence countries consulted in 1991, from the Dergue each other regularly to regime of Mengistu Haile make decisions. Mariam, the Provisional Frequent bilateral visits Government of Eritrea at the top level were also (PGE) went in for reconmade. The very first struction of the state appavisit made to Asmara ratus and looked for interwas by the Ethiopian Prime Minister national recognition of its indepenOn April 21 and 23, 1993, a Meles Zenawi. dence. On April 21 and 23, 1993, a 5 This was reciprocated with a visit referendum was conducted under referendum was conducted the auspices of the United Nations by Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki. under the auspices of the U.N. along with monitors from the OAU, Besides, ministers of both governalong with monitors from the the Arab League and Nonments undertook many visits and Alignment Movement to decide the regular consultations on many OAU, the Arab League and legitimacy of independence. The refaspects of mutual interest. Non-Alignment Movement to erendum included not only the When the conflict over ownership decide the legitimacy of Eritreans living on the territory but of the Hanish-Zuquar archipelago also the Eritrean Diaspora in Sudan, exploded between Yemen and independence. With the the Middle East, Europe and the U.S. Eritrea, the first country to offer referendum, 30 years of war The referendum resulted in 99.8 per mediation in order to resolve the ended and left the country with problem peacefully was the cent votes in favour of independence. Recognition was granted almost enormous reconstruction tasks. Ethiopian prime minister.8 In February 1997, the Ethiopian immediately by the U.S., Sudan, President Negasso Guidada declared: Ethiopia and Italy. A little later, Eritrea was incorporated into the U.N. as the 182nd member “The existing relationship between Eritrea and Ethiopia is of great importance for the promotion of peace and economic and 52nd member of OAU. With the referendum, 30 years of war ended and left the des- development in the region (of the Horn of Africa) and of olated country with enormous reconstruction tasks. According Africa in its entirety.”9 The Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation that was signed to World Bank estimates, the per capita income at the time of in July 1993 included the following provisions: independence was between $70-150 per year. Earlier, the relationship between Eritrea and Ethiopia was ! Continuation of the free movement of goods, capital and limited to economic, political and cultural areas. In September people that existed before Eritrea attained independence. 1993, soon after a referendum was conducted, the possibility ! Continuous free access of Ethiopia to the Eritrean ports. of an agreement in the area of military security was studied and ! Cooperation in the political area and use of the Ethiopian currency Birr in both countries, until Eritrea issues its own was reached in April 1994.6 A Joint Declaration was issued in the following month, currency. which read as follows: “Ethiopia and Eritrea express their ! Harmonisation of political areas. determination in enlarging the economic cooperation, to pro- ! Cooperation and consultations in foreign policy.10

February-April 2007



February 2007-April 2007