Saturday, 18 August, 2018


Eritrea President arrives in Ethiopia for state visit

Africa: Ethiopian, Eritrean Leaders Embrace as Thousands Cheer Eritrea President arrives in Ethiopia for state visit
Bennie Garza | 18 July, 2018, 14:14

Some chanted songs criticizing the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, which was Ethiopian ruling coalition's strongest political party and hostile to Eritrea until Abiy came to power at the beginning of April and introduced a breathtaking series of political and economic reforms. A year earlier, a small group of Eritreans launched the war for independence that stretched for three decades.

Thousands of people poured into the streets of Addis Ababa along the path the convoy would go through en route to the Prime Minister's residence.

An agreement brokered by Algeria's president ended the two-year war, and an global boundary commission gave Badme - a flashpoint for the war - to Eritrea, while compelling it to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for the huge Ethiopian shipments it confiscated at the Port of Assab.

Along the main road from the airport, thousands of Ethiopians gathered to celebrate with both Ethiopian and Eritrean flags waved side-by-side.

He visited Eritrea's capital last weekend and signed a pact with Isaias on resuming ties, a move that ended a near 20-year military standoff after a border war.

"The end of hostilities with Ethiopia is a joyous moment for Eritreans, but it must be followed by tangible reforms that make a real difference in the daily lives of the people and put an end to decades of repression in the country", said Seif Magango, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

Ethiopia's government spokesperson said Isaias and his delegation would visit an industrial park in the southern Ethiopian town of Hawassa later on Saturday.

"The visit will cement further/add momentum to the joint march for peace and cooperation set in motion by both leaders", Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel said on Twitter on Friday.

Ethiopian officials say direct global telephone connections have been restored between the two countries.

The two leaders have now committed to fully implementing the commission's decision. More than 70,000 Ethiopian citizens of Eritrean origin are expelled from Ethiopia.

Meanwhile, thousands of citizens, including children, have been forced into military training and national service, a policy that has prompted many young people to flee the country.

President Afeworki's motorcade was led by Oromo horsemen.

The emotional reunion between the two countries has allowed residents to speak to each other by telephone for the first time in two decades as communication lines were re-opened.

This raises the possibility that families who have been divided by the conflict could finally be reunited.

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