“The fact that this historic moment is happening exactly at the same time as our plenary Assembly meeting, is really surprising and indeed we are grateful to God”, said on July 16, 2018, His Eminence Cardinal Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, Archbishop of Addis Ababa, where the 19th Plenary Assembly of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) opened on July 14th. His words were reported by Fides News Agency
The event coincided with the historic visit of the President of Eritrea, Isaias Afewerki to the Ethiopian capital, who met with the new Ethiopian premier Abiy Ahmed, as the first gesture of the renewed friendship between the two Countries after the agreement of peace signed on 9 July in Asmara, which ended 20 years of war and tensions.
Sharing in the joy of Ethiopians who flooded the roads of Addis Ababa, carrying the flags of the two Countries in a symbolic gesture of unity, Cardinal Souraphiel said that nine months ago AMECEA sent a High Delegation of Solidarity Team to visit Eritrea, and it is, therefore, a great joy to see that reconciliation, peace, and unity among the people from the two Countries is happening.
“We are happy to have this plenary here in Addis Ababa and so many have come. Each AMECEA Country, each conference is well represented and especially also our affiliate members Djibouti and Somalia”, added Cardinal Souraphiel, who is the Chairman of AMECEA .
The chairman of AMECEA hopes that their brothers in South Sudan will be following the example set by the two leaders so that a lasting reconciliation, peace, and unity may be found among the people of God. “If the leaders from such countries that are currently witnessing conflict want, they only need to realize that they have the wisdom to solve their own problems; they can sit under the tree and talk; they do not need big conference centers or five-star hotels”, he concluded.
The Episcopal Conferences of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan/South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia are part of AMECEA, while Djibouti and Somalia are affiliated.