Leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea were present at the official reopening of the Ethiopian embassy in Asmara on Thursday. The latest development is a significant leg of a peace deal reached in July 2018.
After Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Isaias Afwerki signed the July 9 deal, Afwerki visited Addis Ababa for a three-day visit during which period the Eritrean embassy in Ethiopia was officially reopened. Both countries have also named ambassadors.
The leaders jointly raised the Ethiopian flag in front of the embassy as a military band played the Ethiopian anthem. A cultural display was also on the side according to photos shared on social media.
PM Abiy Ahmed stopped in Eritrea on his way back from Beijing where he attended the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
He has since held talks with his host and signed a tripartite agreement between Ethiopia, Somalia, and Eritrea to strengthen multilateral ties. The Somali president arrived in Asmara for the event which took place on Wednesday evening.
Eritrea formally seceded from Ethiopia in 1993 after a long battle for independence, but the two fought a border war in 1998 that claimed lives of at least 80,000.
A peace deal was signed two years later but Ethiopia refused to implement it, saying it wanted more talks.
The armies of both nations have both been facing off across their border since the war ended and security dominates both countries concerns.
The rapprochement was set in motion after Abiy in April became Ethiopia’s prime minister. Abiy said he would accept and implement a boundary commission’s ruling on the Eritrea border and implement sweeping political and economic reforms.
Abiy’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, said in a tweet at the time that better ties “will create the ideal conditions to address remaining strategic issues in the shared interest of the two nations.”