Ethiopia, Eritrea agree to normalize relations

The governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea on Sunday decided to normalize the relationship by ending the dispute and hostility between the two nations that has led them to a two years long bloody war two decades ago.

Visiting Asmara, Eritrea on Sunday and meeting with President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea, Ethiopia’s reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that the two nations have agreed to open their embassies, open their borders for trade and movement of their people from one country to another.

“We need to come together…There is a huge opportunity in East Africa…During our meeting with President Isaias Afwerki today, we have agreed to commence flights of our airlines to both nations; to make our ports operational; to allow free movement of our people; to open our embassies; we with our families can come to our second country – Asmara and visit and to allow Eritreans to come to Ethiopia and visit their families. We have also agreed to resolve the remaining minor agendas by demolishing the wall between us and building bridge of love,” Prime Minister Abiy said, smiling and congratulating Ethiopian and Eritrean people.

President Isaias on his part indicated that he appreciates the genuine intentions and measures Prime Minister Abiy has taken to end the conflict between the two nations, which has failed again and again in the past 15 years.

“The decision taken by Dr. Abiy is not an easy one,” President Isaias said, recalling the opportunities lost over the past pears.

The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Amb. Mahboub Maalim has congratulated Prime Minister Abiy for his “wise and courageous leadership in committing to fully implement the Algiers Agreement and normalizing relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea”.

“The normalization of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea and the resolution of the border issue will undoubtedly benefit the people of the two countries and would contribute to the realization of our shared aspiration of peace and economic integration of our region and indeed the continent of Africa. We therefore wish to reiterate our continued support for the ongoing bilateral developments and encourage you to maintain the positive momentum towards peace,” Amb. Mahboub said.

“While we celebrate this beautiful day in history, we wish the best of sustainable peace, friendship and prosperity to both the Eritrean and Ethiopian peoples. We are looking forward not only to connect Eritrea with Ethiopia but also to connect Eritrea with more than 114 international destinations in 5 continents with modern airplanes,” said Ethiopian Airlines, which has landed its plane in Eritrea after 20 years.

Ethiopia and Eritrea went to war from 1998 to 2000 over a border conflict. The war was ended after a UN mediated peace deal was signed in Algiers in December 2000. The war has resulted in losses of tens of thousands of lives and displacement of tens of thousands of people on both sides.

The normalization came after 18 years when Ethiopian reformist Prime Minister, who came to power three months ago, has informed Eritrean government Ethiopia’s decision to immediately start implementing the Algiers Agreement without any preconditions.

Not long after within a few days Eritrean President welcomed the decision and expressed his plan to send delegation to Ethiopia. After welcoming the delegation of Eritrea about a few weeks ago, it was announced that Ethiop’s Prime Minister will be meeting President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea.