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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 18, 2000


Today in Algiers, Ethiopia and Eritrea signed an agreement to cease hostilities. This is a breakthrough which can, and should end the tragic conflict in the Horn of Africa. It can, and should permit these two countries to realize their potential in peace, instead of squandering it in war.

I commend the Organization of African Unity, and especially its chair Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, for leading the negotiation of this agreement. I am grateful to my envoy, former National Security Advisor Anthony Lake, to Assistant Secretary of State Susan Rice and to my senior advisor on African Affairs Gayle Smith for their tireless pursuit of a peaceful resolution to this conflict. The United States has supported the OAU in this effort and we will continue to do so. I have asked Tony Lake to return to Algiers to work with the OAU as we enter the next round of negotiations.

I hope this commitment by Ethiopia and Eritrea to stop the fighting also signals their commitment to build the peace. I urge them to use the next round of talks to produce a final, comprehensive, lasting agreement, so they can get on with the work of pursuing democracy and development for their people. Ethiopia and Eritrea are America's friends. If they are ready to take the next step, we and our partners in the international community will walk with them.

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