In response to the news that the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea have a 'joint declaration of peace and friendship', CAFOD has issued the following statement:
We welcome the peace deal between Ethiopia and Eritrea, ending 20 years of a border conflict in which tens of thousands of people have suffered trauma and loss from the fighting.
The decision to extend the hand of peace to each other opens up a future in which the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea can both flourish, contributing to the stability and development of their countries.
Our Programme Manager in Addis Ababa sent us this news.
"The Ethiopian Telecom started direct communication to Eritrea. For 20 years it was impossible to communicate with my family members in Asmara via direct phone conversation!
"Really this was a big unbelievable surprise for all the family who was separated for the last 20 years, especially for those who were not able to travel outside."
This agreement is an example to the world of what is possible when warring parties make sincere efforts to achieve a true and lasting peace.
Archbishop Tesfamariam Menghesteab, of Metropolitan Asmara, and President of the Council of the Eritrean Catholic Church, says there is euphoria and a great sense of hope among Eritreans and Ethiopians as prospects for peace grow.
"The news itself was already something great, and now there is this euphoria filled with hope and a lot of expectations," the Archbishop told Vatican Radio.
"My first reaction was, let us pray … we have to pray, so that the Holy Spirit may enlighten the leaders, may give them wisdom, may give them courage and strength to decide for the good of their peoples."
Cardinal Berhaneyesus, Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa, and President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Ethiopia and Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA) thanked people of faith for their prayers.
"I thank the Catholic faithful in Ethiopia and Eritrea and those who are in the Diaspora for continuously praying for peace. I would like to congratulate them, for we have received answers to our prayers," the Cardinal's statement said.
"This is a first step to sustainable peace, and I ask you to continue praying that with God's grace this initiative may be successful. I invite all Catholic Faithful in both countries to pray for the governments of both countries that God may lead and bless the discussions they are holding to resolve the problem."
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