Fostering Interaction of People of Ethiopian Eritrean Divide

This document informs about a half-day conference, during which six presentations were discussed and the presenters were from both Ethiopia and Eritrean sides. About 100 participants attended the conference and they represented Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia, Eritrean scholarship students at Addis Ababa University, research institutes, civic organizations, academic institutions, students from Addis Ababa University, local and international media outlets and other invited guests. Among the presenters, Saliha Ibrahim, who is deputy chairperson of Eritrean refugee union living in Ethiopia spoke under the title “Opportunities and conducive environment to strengthen the relations between the two fraternal peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea”. She stated that “even during the 1998 border war between the two countries people to people relations continued and refugee flow from Eritrea to Ethiopia was not interrupted. The culture of hospitality and historical attachments contributed to caring for one to the other and till today that affinity has pulled the two nations to remain in the same line”. She also stated that there has been a strong bondage between the two fraternal nations. Even though the two governments are in no peace and no war situation, the Ethiopian government is committed to strengthen people to people relations. Yemane Nagish, editor of the political column at the Reporter newspaper, discussed “the role of media in fostering people to people relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea”. He said “media have crucial power to play the role in fostering people to people relations but its contribution has been weak and insufficient”.