Ethiopia, Eritrea sign end of war declaration in Asmara

Asmara, Eritrea (PANA) - Visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, and his Eritrean host President, Isias Aferweki, have signed a declaration to end two decades of "No-war-No peace", setting the stage for the normalisation of strained diplomatic relations, both sides announced on Monday.

The Ethiopian Premier, who arrived in Asmara, the Eritrean capital, to a rapturous street welcome, left for Addis Ababa on Monday, having signed a Memorundum of Understanding (MoU) with the Eritrean President on the restoration of diplomatic relations.

The joint declaration signaled the end of the 20-year old war over the flashpoint of Badme, over which the two neighbouring states went to war in 1998.

"Ethiopia and Eritrea are determined to close a costly chapter and eager to make up for the lost opportunity putting the interest and the aspirations of their people at the centre," said Fitsum Arega, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Ethiopian Prime Minister.

The two countries signed the joint declaration to restore diplomatic relations. Eritrea will open an embassy in Addis Ababa in September.

According to the Eritrean Minister of Information, Yemane Gebre Meskel, the two sovereign states entered into the agreement based on five pillars, chief among them, a declaration to end the war.

Yemane said in a tweet that the "State of war that existed between the two countries has come to an end. A new era of peace and friendship has been ushered."

The two countries agreed to work to promote close cooperation in political, economic, social, cultural and security areas.

The Ethiopian Airlines will resume flights to Asmara in August.

Under the MoU, the two countries will allow bus transportation and there will be no visa required for citizens moving and trading.

Both sides will also re-establish telecommunication links.

The two sides will allow the opening of Embassies and full diplomatic ties resumed and renewed.

The Eritrean Embassy in Addis Ababa remains unoccupied for ages since the Ethio-Eritrean border war.

Both countries agreed that diplomatic activities will be renewed and the border decision will be implemented.

The ruling Ethiopia Peoples Democratic Revolutionary Front (EPRDF) leadership council made a historic decision to accept the Algiers Peace Agreement and to implement the decision of the border Commission which awarded the border town of Badme to Eritrea.

Without giving precise details, both countries announced they would work together to guarantee regional peace, development and cooperation.

Ethiopian has regularly accused Eritrea of aiding rebel movements with the intention to overthrow the regime in Addis Ababa.

The raft of measures coming weeks after the resignation of former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn have included the rapprochement with Eritrea.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister was expected back in Addis Ababa after the weekend diplomatic engagements in Asmara.

The declaration would see the release of prisoners of war, including Ethiopian pilots seized by Eritrean and war generals captured during the border war.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has sent congratulatory messages to both leaders for reaching out and "choosing the path of talking to each other and beginning the journey of friendship."

"Kenya is your proud neighbour," President Kenyatta said.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 9July2018

09 july 2018 15:25:01

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