The status the USA has in relation to the Algiers Agreement that ended the Ethiopia – Eritrea war (1998 – 2000) may sound like an academic question: it is not.
If the US was merely an observer, then it has no formal responsibility to uphold the agreement. If it was a guarantor, then it does. Previously there has been uncertainty about this.
Now Ambassador Mike Raynor has confirmed that America is a guarantor.
In a wide-ranging and interesting interview with the Addis Standard the Ambassador has much to say, including this reply to a question about the role the US will play in supporting the developing reconciliation between Ethiopia and Eritrea:
Well, we have said to both parties, and publicly, and continue to say that we are available to play that role. Back in the day of the Algiers Agreement the United States was formally a guarantor; we had a structural role established at the point that the agreement was made. We have encouraged this outcome for sometime with both governments and in doing so we have said ‘If you collaboratively feel there is a role that the US can constructively play, we’ll do everything we can to support that’. We have not been asked in any form or way to play any sort of role in that process. But if we are, we would look very strongly at doing everything we can to respond favorably.
Ambassador Raynor also added weight to suggestions that the US encouraged talks between Ethiopia and Eritrea for some months, including reports that a meeting was held at the State Department in Washington attended by Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and President Isaias’s advisor, Yemane Gebreab. The meeting was reportedly attended by former Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn and chaired by Donald Yamamoto.
The Ambassador said: “…we’ve had engagements with both countries for a number of months now encouraging this outcome. That predates Prime Minister Abiy, but certainly includes the time and period he came to power.”
Full interview follows