ADDIS ABABA, Sept. 11 — Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki re-opened the two countries’ common border on Tuesday, more than 20 years after it was shut with the outbreak of bloody war between the two nations.
In a joint ceremony, Ahmed and Afwerki opened the key Bure-Debay-Sima border crossing and are expected later Tuesday to witness the re-opening of Zalambessa border crossing, Yemane Gebremeskel, Eritrean Minister of Information said in a twitter post.
Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a bloody two year border war from 1998-2000, leaving an estimated 70,000 people dead from both sides, before a December 2000 Algiers peace agreement ended the war. However, the two countries had remained in a state of armed standoff until recently.
On June 5, the executive committee of the ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), passed a decision expressing commitment to an unconditional implementation of Algiers peace agreement with Eritrea.
Eritrea gave a positive response to Ethiopia’s peace gesture two weeks later, and ever since then a series of rapid diplomatic moves has seen Ahmed and Afwerki visit their respective countries in July, formally ending two decades of mutual animosity.
The rapid diplomatic thaw between the two countries has also seen Ethiopia and Eritrea restore air links, telephone lines, trade routes and re-open their respective diplomatic missions.
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