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Somalia’s president pays rare visit to Eritrea

Image of Somali President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo on 8 February 2017 [AMISOM Public Information/Flickr]
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo [AMISOM Public Information/Flickr]

Somalia’s president paid a rare visit to Eritrea on Saturday in a sign that Asmara is trying to use the opportunity created by a rapprochement with Ethiopia to improve its regional ties.

Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki’s decision to invite President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo marks a new chapter for the countries after years of sour relations.

Discussions will focus on “regional issues of interest to both countries,” Eritrea’s information ministry said.

Previous Somali administrations have accused Eritrea of supplying weapons to militant insurgents fighting the fragile government in Mogadishu. Eritrea has said the accusations were concocted by Ethiopia.

Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a border war between 1998 and 2000 during which tens of thousands died. The war was followed by a military stalemate but in April they signed a peace deal.

Asmara walked out of the East African bloc IGAD in 2007 in protest as Ethiopian forces entered Somalia to fight militants.

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