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Eritrea’s president in Ethiopia to strengthen ties

Photo: Ethiopian PM Abiy welcoming President Isaias at Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport, December 25, 2019

After receiving Nobel Peace Prize, Ethiopian premier commended Eritrean leader as equal contributor to bilateral relations

By Addis Getachew | Anatolia Agency

Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki arrived in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa early Wednesday on an official visit.

The two leaders, according to local broadcaster FANA, will discuss ways of further normalization of bilateral relations.

In 2018, upon a palm branch by Ethiopia’s prime minister, the relations between the two countries made a turnaround from one of a no-war-no-peace situation to the opening up of a new era of cooperation.

Ever since, the two leaders exchanged numerous visits and signed what has been termed as the Asmara Declaration -- a cooperative framework that also saw the commencement of air travels, telephone service, as well as the reopening of embassies in Addis Ababa and Eritrea's capital Asmara.

The declaration has also provided for allowing Ethiopia to use Eritrean ports of Assab and Massawa for imports and exports.

Although roads had been opened, they were closed after a short while due to security reasons, according to analysts.

Earlier, Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nebiat Getachew told Anadolu Agency that the two countries were working to institutionalize bilateral ties in a wide range of areas.

Last week, an Ethiopian cultural troupe was in Eritrea as part of efforts to enhance the relations.

Eritrea seceded [gained de jure independence] from Ethiopia in 1993.

In 1998-2000, the two neighboring nations fought a bloody war in which an estimated 70,000 people perished.

The normalization of relations with Eritrea has been one of the factors that earned Ethiopia’s leader the much coveted Nobel Prize, which he received last month in a ceremony held in the Norwegian capital Oslo, for his efforts to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea and to forge regional cooperation.

In his speech in Oslo, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed commended Eritrea’s leader as equal player in bringing about a normalization of relations between the two neighbors.

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