16 September 2018

Remarks at press conference with Foreign Minister Adel Ahmed Al-Jubeir of Saudi Arabia

António Guterres

I am extremely happy to be here in Jeddah, as I had the opportunity to witness a historic moment. The signature of the peace agreement between the President of Eritrea and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia is indeed a historic event. We have seen a conflict that has lasted for decades ending, and that has a very important meaning in a world where we see, unfortunately, so many conflicts multiplying and lasting forever.
And I want to express my deep appreciation to the role played by His Majesty, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and by the Government of Saudi Arabia, facilitating this agreement, contributing to bring together the parties, and, at the same time, to pay tribute, on one hand to the courage, the vision, the wisdom of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, who has had the capacity to overcome enormous resistance from the past and open a new chapter in the history of his country, and also the way the President of Eritrea has promptly responded to his peace initiatives.
This means that there is a wind of hope blowing in the Horn of Africa. It is not only the peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea – it is the fact that tomorrow and the day after tomorrow we will have, here in Saudi Arabia, the President of Djibouti and the President of Eritrea – two countries that have also been at odds with each other.
Just a few days ago, it was possible, in Addis, the signature of the agreement between Riek Machar and Salva Kiir [of South Sudan]. And IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] is being restructured and Eritrea is now part of the IGAD again, fully part of the IGAD, and we are hoping to see a general improvement of the relations of the countries of the region.
I want to say that this window of hope is enormously important in a world where, unfortunately, hope has been very scarce, and once again I want to express my deep gratitude to the Government of Saudi Arabia for this opportunity to witness one of the most important moments that recently helped in our way to reestablish an environment of peace in our troubled world.
Thank you very much. Shukran