Ethiopia welcomes Eritrean delegation with garlands of flowers

by Engidu Woldie
ESAT News (June 26, 2018)

A delegation of the Eritrean government arrived in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa for talks, days after leaders of the two countries expressed willingness to peacefully resolve the longstanding border dispute.

The talks will be the first almost two decades after a border war that claimed the lives of at least 70,000 people.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed welcomed the Eritrean delegation led by its Foreign Minister, Osman Saleh. Presidential Advisor and Head of Political Affairs, Yemane Gebreab and Ambassador of Eritrea to the African Union, Araya Desta are also in the visiting team.

There is high hopes the talks will be the beginning of the end of two decades of stalemate between two countries that share common culture, religion and linguistics.

A youthful leader in Ethiopia, a Prime Minister that assumed office only in April has introduced a wide range of reforms, which include overtures of peaceful coexistence and economic cooperation with neighboring countries.

Regardless of diplomatic protocols and niceties, the Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed himself welcomed the Eritrean delegation. Ahmed literally kept a promise few days ago that he would welcome the Eritrean delegation when he responded to the announcement by Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki that he would send one.

A peace agreement signed in December 2000 has been stalled for 18 years until Ahmed extended an olive branch to Eritrea in a Parliamentary speech last week, which has gotten a positive response from the Eritrean President, who described the developments as “positive signals” from Addis Ababa announcing delegation would be sent to “gauge current developments directly and in depth.”

Details of the talks are however yet to be made public.