« The Ethiopian-Eritrean Rapprochement After Year One: Cycles of Hope and Despair in Eritrea »

By Tanja R. Müller.

The stalemate that followed the end of a two-year war between Eritrea and Ethiopia in 2000 was over when new Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed unconditionally offered the implementation of peace to Eritrea in July 2019. As a consequence of this rapprochement, many within Eritrea and observers from the outside expected political and economic changes to take hold in Eritrea. In this article I discuss how the first months after the peace agreement did result in a short-lived period of changing conditions of everyday life in Eritrea, largely triggered by the fact that the border between both countries was now open and could be crossed with relative ease. Since the border closed again from April 2019 onwards, a new period of static stalemate has taken hold within Eritrea. This is accompanied by increasingly vocal diaspora engagement most prominent via social media through attacks on the Eritrean President and the demand for his overthrow. While some have drawn parallels to the political change in Sudan expecting a similar scenario to occur, within Eritrea people see such comparisons with caution and in general are vary of the scenarios coming from the divided diaspora. In addition, the Eritrean regime is perhaps less fragile than it may look. And a lesson from Sudan might be that the vili cation of a leader in power is more likely to hinder than advance sustainable political change.



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