Ethiopia and Eritrea formally ended their two-year war on Tuesday, signing a peace agreement that halts a conflict over a barren patch of land that left tens of thousands dead.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki signed the accord before a crowd of applauding diplomats, many of whom participated in the peace process.
The signing, held at a government-owned resort outside the Algerian capital of Algiers, was attended by U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan and U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
The peace accord signed on Tuesday was a follow-up to an initial ceasefire agreement signed on June 18 by Ethiopia and Eritrea, which went to war in May 1998.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin represented Ethopia at the Algiers ceremony, while Eritrea was represented by President Isaias Afwerki.
U-N chief Kofi Annan, Algerian President Abdulaziz Bouteflika, O-A-U Secretary General Salim Ahmed Salim, U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and other diplomats were all present to witness the signing.
Eritrean Foreign Minister Ali Sayyid Abdallah said that the document was more "comprehensive, better and clearer than previous documents".
But he warned Eritreans against complacency, saying that the Ethiopian administration should not be trusted, and had in the past evaded its commitment to "agreements it signed before the ink was dry".
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said he was "confident and optimistic" of the prospects for peace.
But he also said that even with the peace agreement, Ethiopia would not establish good relations with Eritrea until the Asmara administration was replaced by what he termed as a responsible government.
Annan hailed the peace deal designed to end the violence.
Declaring the war over, he said it was a "positive story for Africa which ends the year with a story of peace."
The Horn of Africa neighbours agreed to end hostilities in June, after mediation by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), and since then there has been no fighting.
The final deal is meant to ensure hostilities do not resume after the eventual departure of more than four-thousnad U-N peacekeepers who are currently being deployed.
The agreement establishes a border commission to demarcate the disputed border between the two countries.
The body will be composed of five members - two from each country and an independent chairman.
Both parties will then submit their territorial claims to a legal arbitration body and disputes will be settled through a U-N unit.
Also outstanding is the issue of compensation which both countries claim for war damages.
The conflict over the 620-mile (one-thousand-kilometre) border between Ethiopia and Eritrea - among the world's poorest countries - has cost the lives of thousands of soldiers and civilians on both sides.
The war started with Eritrea's seizure of Badme, 400 miles north of Addis Ababa, in May 1998.
The war was about the two nations' poorly demarcated border - but observers say it was driven as much by the rivalry between Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki as anything else.
Eritrea, once a province of Ethiopia, gained its independence in 1993.