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Executive Summary for June 7th

We review the latest issues related to peace and security, including a U.N. agreement for Rohingya returns, Ethiopia’s unexpected steps towards peace with Eritrea and a reconciliation deal between two warring Libyan cities.

Published on June 7, 2018 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

U.N. Signs Agreement With Myanmar for Rohingya Returns

Two United Nations agencies and the Myanmar government signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday that aims to create conditions for the safe and voluntary return of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, according to U.N. News.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) will gain access to the refugees’ state of origin in Myanmar’s Rakhine province, and new potential settlements for those returning.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres “welcomes the agreement by the Government of Myanmar to take this first step to address the root causes of the conflict in Rakhine,” according to a statement by the U.N. chief’s spokesperson.

Some 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar since last August, most of them fleeing violence and persecution from the Myanmar government.

Ethiopia Unexpectedly Offers to Accept Peace Deal With Eritrea

Ethiopia announced Tuesday that it will fully abide by the conditions of a peace deal with neighboring Eritrea, a surprise move that could end the ongoing conflict between the two countries after what was one of Africa’s deadliest border wars, according to the BBC.

Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the current ruling party, said in a statement that it would “fully accept and implement” the conditions of a peace deal that had been reached in 2002 and put a final end to the war, Reuters reported.

As many as 100,000 people died during the two year border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Though the conflict technically came to an end in 2002, with a “final and binding” ruling handed down by Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, Ethiopia had not taken steps to implement it.

The Eritrean government has not yet responded to the announcement. Tesfalem Araia, of the BBC’s Tigrinya service said “the ball is now in Eritrea’s court. Eritrea has been on a war footing and the justification for forced conscription into the army has been the conflict with Ethiopia.”

Two Libyan Cities Sign Reconciliation Deal

The Libyan cities of Misrata and Tawergha signed a reconciliation deal on Sunday that will allow nearly 40,000 internally displaced Tawerghans to return home after seven years of displacement, according to the Libyan Express.

“This treaty aims to turn the page on the past with the neighboring residents in Tawergha and close the door to the trading of this issue by some parties, which aim to achieve regional or partisan political interests,” said Mustafa Karwad, head of Misurata’s municipal council, according to Xinhua.

The peace agreement signed in Misrata between community elders comes after a United Nations-sponsored deal in August 2016 which also called for the return of displaced people from Tawergha.

In a separate development over the weekend, the Foreign Ministry in the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) signed an agreement with its southern neighbors Chad, Sudan and Niger to monitor the borders.

“Libya is working on supporting joint relations between the four countries and is keen to support all efforts to combat terrorism, transnational organized crime, smuggling of all kinds, illegal migration, mercenaries, arms smuggling and smuggling of all kinds of subsidized commodities and petroleum derivatives,” Libya’s foreign minister Mohammad Al-Sayala said in a statement, according to the Libya Observer.

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