Ethiopia, Eritrea to normalise relations after 20-yr conflict

Ethiopia, Eritrea to normalise relations after 20-yr conflict

Mubasher: Ethiopia and Eritrea announced the first concrete steps to re-establish the diplomatic ties after two decades of conflict.

During an unprecedented visit by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to Eretria’s capital Asmara, meeting with the country’s president Isaias Afwerki, the two East African countries agreed on opening their airspace to one another, restoring telephone communications and reopening embassies.

Moreover, they also agreed to allow Addis Ababa access to Eretria’s ports on the Red Sea, after Ethiopia became landlocked since the secession of its smaller coastal neighbour a quarter-century ago.

The landmark visit came after an Eritrean delegation visited Addis Ababa last month to initiate peace talks between the long-time enemies.

Lasting peace between the two African countries, after two decades of hostility, could signal a new era in the strategic part of Africa, neighbouring with the Middle East.

While Ethiopia is a major ally for the West and China in the Horn of Africa near one of the most popular shipping routes, Eritrea hosts a UAE military base as well as a Red Sea coastline near the Suez Canal.