Ethiopia reopens embassy in Eritrea amid thaw in ties

Leaders from both countries attend ceremony in Asmara as two nations re-establish diplomatic links.

Ethiopia and Eritrea have moved swiftly to sweep away two decades of hostility [Mulugeta Ayene/AP Photo]

September 7, 2018 (Al Jazeera) — Ethiopia has reopened its embassy in Eritrea after a 20-year hiatus, in a further sign of improving relations between the neighbours who signed a peace accord earlier this year.

A brief reopening ceremony in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, on Thursday was attended by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki and senior officials of both countries, according to state-affiliated Ethiopian Fana Broadcasting.

Redwan Hussein was named the new Ethiopian ambassador.

Since signing an agreement in Asmara to restore ties on July 9, leaders from both countries have moved swiftly to sweep away two decades of hostility that followed the conflict in 1998.

In July, Eritrea reopened its embassy in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, and named an ambassador to represent it.

Air links were also re-established with Ethiopian Airlines commencing direct passenger flights between Addis Ababa and Asmara.

Once a province of Ethiopia, Eritrea seceded in 1993 after a long independence struggle. A dispute over the demarcation of their shared border triggered the conflict.

The Horn of Africa nations remained at loggerheads since Ethiopia rejected a United Nations ruling and refused to cede to Eritrea land along the countries’ border following the 1998-2000 war.

Elevated to the premiership in April, Abiy announced in June that Ethiopia would give up its claim to the disputed border territories that triggered the fighting.

The new Ethiopian prime minister said Addis Ababa will fully implement the UN-backed peace agreement which awarded the territories to Asmara.

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