World Council of Churches
2-8 November 2018
Doc. No. 03.4
Statement on Reconciliation and Restoration of Relationships in Ethiopia and Eritrea
The executive committee of the World Council of Churches warmly welcomes the recent positive developments in the relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea, beginning a process of healing of the wounds still lingering from the Eritrean-Ethiopian war of 1998-2000 in which an estimated 80,000 people lost their lives. We express our respect and appreciation to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea for their leadership in bringing a formal end to this conflict through the joint agreement signed at the Eritrea-Ethiopia Summit on 9 July 2018, followed by an official peace agreement concluded in Jeddah on 16 September 2018. We celebrate with the peoples of both countries the resumption of diplomatic and economic relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the opening of Eritrean ports to Ethiopian vessels, the agreement to jointly develop ports on Eritrea’s Red Sea coast, the reopening of the border on 11 September 2018 and the resumption of the movement of people between the two countries after 20 years of closure.
In this season of reconciliation and restoration in the region, positive developments within the churches of both countries also give powerful new hope of the healing of old wounds. The end of a 27-year long schism in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, with the reunification of the “Addis Ababa Synod” and “Synod in Exile” is an inspiration to the entire Christian family. And the re-establishment of functional relations with the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, following a WCC delegation visit to Eritrea in September 2017 – the first such visit in 10 years – has created fresh opportunities for engagement in the Eritrean context.
The WCC executive committee, meeting in Uppsala, Sweden, 2-8 November 2018:
Welcomes, affirms and encourages these steps towards restoration of relationships within and with the churches, and between the governments and peoples of both countries.
Requests the WCC general secretary to explore ways in which the WCC can further support deeper reconciliation among the people and churches of Ethiopia and Eritrea, and to promote a sustainable and resilient peace in the region.
Invites all WCC member churches, specialized ministries and ecumenical partners to consider ways in which they can accompany and support the churches and people of Ethiopia and Eritrea in the ongoing pilgrimage of justice and peace in their countries and region.