World Council of Churches to intervene in longstanding Ethiopia-Eritrea border dispute

The World Council of Churches said it will intervene in the longstanding border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia and will try to come up with a resolution to the problem, a representative from the global church group has revealed.

(REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol)Migrants from Ethiopia and Eritrea queue in line during a food distribution near the former "jungle" in Calais, France, August 23, 2017.

For the first time, a WCC delegation went to the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church last month. Dr. Nigussu Legesse, the council's program executive and convener for Africa, and Ecumenical Relations head Fr. Daniel Buda led the delegation, Africa News detailed.

The WCC delegation and officials from the Eritrean Church held synod meetings during the visit. They also went to historic monasteries and archaeological sites in the area.

"We came here with great expectations and we are looking forward to having constructive dialogue and encounters with the Eritrean Orthodox Church which is our WCC member church here in Eritrea and with other churches, religious communities and state authorities," Dr. Legesse shared.

The border dispute between the two countries sparked in 1993 when Eritrea got its independence from Ethiopia. Morocco tried to mediate between the two nations in 2000, but the border demarcation deal that was created that time still has not been fully implemented. The issue led to a two-year war in 1998 which left around 70,000 dead.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia has released two Eritrean TV reporters after more than 10 years of being imprisoned. Sources told Voice of America's Horn of Africa service that cameraman Tesfaldet Kidane and show host Salih Gama were freed a few days ago.

Kidane and Gama were arrested in December 2006 at the border between Kenya and Somalia during the time that Ethiopia invaded Somalia. In April 2007, the Foreign Ministry of Ethiopia reportedly identified them as among the 41 terror suspects who were captured, but they were never formally charged, nor were they tried in court.