After long years of hostility, Eritrea and Ethiopia are set to re-establish diplomatic and trade ties.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaia Afwerki made the announcement during a landmark meeting in the latter’s capital Asmara.
It is the first time in almost 20 years the leaders from the two East African neighbours have met .
Relations between the two countries were severed following a border dispute which killed tens of thousands of people in the late 1990s.
The leaders also announced they would re-open their embassies.
“If there is peace between Ethiopian and Eritrean people, the horn of Africa region will be a region of peace and development. Our people who live scattered as refugees in humiliation will come back with dignity. Our citizens will not be sold and exchanged like commodities,“Thyiopian Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed said.
“Congratulations Dr. Abiy. We are together in the future journey. We will confront challenges and opportunities together and win together. Above all congratulations to the people of Ethiopia and to the people of Eritrea,” said Eritrean President, Isaias Afwerki.
The talks were the product of an unexpected peace initiative by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister which could transform the Horn of Africa region.
Relations were severed following a border dispute which killed tens of thousands of people in the late 1990s.
Direct international telephone connection was also restored on Sunday between Ethiopia and Eritrea “for the first time after two decades”, an Ethiopian official said on Sunday.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister’s chief of staff wrote the statement on Twitter after a summit between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea’s President Isaias Afkwerki began.
The meeting was the first of its kind between the leaders of the two neighbours and bitter rivals in the Horn of Africa, who went to war with each other and broke off diplomatic relations in 1998.