THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
December 7, 2000
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Ethiopia and Eritrea have accepted the invitation of Algerian
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to sign a final peace agreement in Algiers
on December 12, building on a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement brokered
by the United States and the Organization of African Unity last June.
Last week, I was able to inform both Prime Minister Meles and
President Isaias that each leader had confirmed to me his acceptance of the
text of a final peace agreement. All who have worked for this peace, and
all who were moved by the costs of the war, congratulate the Ethiopian and
Eritrean leadership and people for achieving this breakthrough.
This agreement ends the biggest conventional war in the world in
recent years, in what may be the world?s poorest region. It should permit
these two countries to realize their potential in peace, instead of
squandering it in war. It should free both countries to concentrate on
meeting their people?s aspirations for democracy and development, as their
leaders have pledged to do. The United States stands ready to work with
both countries to consolidate the peace and accelerate their return to the
urgent task of economic development.
More than two years of effort by the United States and the
Organization of African Unity went into reaching this final agreement. I
want to thank my Special Envoy, former National Security Advisor Anthony
Lake; Gayle Smith of the National Security Council; and Assistant Secretary
Susan Rice for their untiring commitment and selfless dedication to the
task. I also wish to extend my personal gratitude and congratulations to
President Bouteflika of Algeria and his entire mediation team.