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Ethiopian leader visits Eritrea for historic peace talks

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed [AP]
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed [AP]

Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has become the first head of government to visit Eritrea, breaking away from the “no-peace, no-war” situation that has existed between the neighboring countries for the past two decades.

Ahmed arrived in Eritrean capital Asmara for historic peace talks Sunday.

The initiative came on the heels of a visit by Eritrea’s high-level delegation to Ethiopia last month, including Yemane Gebreab, President Issaias Afeworki’s special adviser and Foreign Minister Usman Salah.

“This visit is part of efforts to normalize relations with Eritrea,” Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Meles Alem told Anadolu Agency.

“[The prime minister] is expected to talk with the Eritrean leadership on how to mend fences.”

In May, Ethiopia announced it would implement the December 2000 Algiers agreement and the decisions of the International Boundary Commission.

The Algiers agreement came after the two neighbors fought a bloody war from 1998-2000 in which 70,000-80,000 people perished on both sides.

The international boundary commission later decided that Badme, a borderland that was a flashpoint of the conflict, belonged to Eritrea while it ruled that Eritrea should compensate Ethiopia for the huge amount of Ethiopian shipment confiscated in Assab Port.

Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1993.

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