Breaking News: Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed to Visit Eritrea Sunday

AddisNews: Ethiopian PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed to Visit Eritrea This Coming Sunday July 8, 2018

According to reports and a notice sent to Eritrean government offices unidentified guest is going to visit Eritrea.

Social media posts with an official notice indicated that  “Asmara, Massawa & Keren are instructed to make extensive preparations to welcome #Ethiopia‘s PM Abiye Ahmed who is expected to visit #Eritrea on Sunday. Government institutions informed their employees to come out to the streets of Asmara at 7:30am local time to welcome the PM.”

A few days ago, The Associated Press reported that the two countries leaders will meet soon.

According to AP the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea will meet “soon” amid a surprising diplomatic thaw between the rival nations, Ethiopia’s top diplomat said Thursday, as an end to one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts appeared to move closer.

abiy-ahmed-visit-eritrea-addisnews

The meeting will “create a fertile ground to restore peace,” Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu told The Associated Press. “Details regarding the location and timing are under discussion.”

pm abiy ahmed welcome banner in Eritrea

The minister spoke as an Eritrean delegation led by Foreign Minister Osman Saleh concluded a historic three-day visit to Ethiopia, the first in two decades. The countries broke off relations when a border war began in 1998, five years after Eritrea won independence from Ethiopia, and their leaders haven’t met since signing a 2000 peace deal in Algeria.

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The meeting would bring together Ethiopia’s reformist new prime minister, who took office in April, and the president of one of the world’s most reclusive nations.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed surprised the region earlier this month by fully embracing the 2000 peace deal that ended the war that killed tens of thousands. Ethiopia had refused to accept the deal’s handing of key locations to Eritrea and the countries have skirmished over the years.

Ethiopian and Eritrean flags waving in Keren, Asmara. (Photo: Milena Bereket Facebook page picture taken in Keren at 3:30 PM 07-06-2018.)

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, who has been in power since independence, noted the “positive signals” and sent the delegation, saying it would “gauge current developments directly and in depth” and plan future steps.

In a highly symbolic move on Tuesday, Abiy greeted the Eritrean delegation at the airport as they were draped with necklaces of flowers. “We have tried war and found it useless,” he told a dinner reception that night at the National Palace.

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Ethiopian Airlines will soon begin flights to Eritrea, Abiy said, adding: “We want our brothers and sisters to come here and visit us as soon as possible.” The delegation also visited a new industrial park in the southern region’s capital, Hawassa, a reminder of Ethiopia’s status as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

“Honestly speaking, I have found Prime Minister Abiy a wise leader. We want to live with our Ethiopian neighbors as one people,” said the special adviser to Eritrea’s president, Yemane Gebreab.

The Eritrean delegation’s visit is welcome as “a first concrete step in the process of normalizing relations between the two countries,” the spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general said in a statement Thursday, saying the moves to ease tensions will have far-reaching effects in the East Africa-Horn of Africa region.

 

 

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