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Eritrean embassy reopens in Ethiopia

July 16, 2018

Eritrea has reopened its embassy in Ethiopia a week after the once-bitter rivals officially declared an end to a two-decades-old war. Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1993 after a long battle for independence.

Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed arriving for an inauguration ceremony marking the reopening of the Eritrean embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Image: Reuters/T. Negeri

Eritrea reopened its embassy in Ethiopia on Monday amid a diplomatic thaw in relations between the once-bitter rivals.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki re-opened the embassy in the capital Addis Ababa, a week after signing a "joint declaration of peace and friendship" and agreeing to resume flights, open embassies and develop ports together.

Read more: Eritrea: 25 years of independence but still not free

Ethiopian television showed Isaias raising the Eritrean flag at the Addis Ababa embassy and accepting from Abiy keys to the building. In a tweet Eritrea's information minister, Yemane Meskel described the reopening of the embassy as "yet another milestone in the robust and special ties of peace and friendship both countries are cultivating with earnestness in these momentous times."  

Win-win diplomacy

The renewed friendship could lead to landlocked Ethiopia using Eritrea's Red Sea ports along one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, while better relations could help Eritrea overcome decades of relative isolation.

The two countries expelled each other's envoys at the start of a 1998-2000 border war that killed about 80,000 people. A peace agreement was signed at the end of the conflict, but Ethiopia refused to implement it.

Read more: Eritrean president arrives in Ethiopia ahead of embassy opening

A marching band plays during the inauguration ceremony marking the reopening of the Eritrean embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
A military band played Eritrea's anthem during the inauguration ceremony Image: Reuters/T. Negeri

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kw/rc (AFP, Reuters)

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