Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed welcomed the Eritrean foreign minister to Addis Ababa on Tuesday, as the two countries meet for the first time since Ethiopia’s June 5 decision to accept a long-disputed border decision.
Osman Saleh, whose delegation also included Eritrean presidential adviser Yemane Gebreab, was welcomed at Bole International Airport by Abiy, the Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu, and other senior officials, along with scholars, artists and religious and cultural leaders. They were welcomed with flowers that symbolized the hope of a new and flourishing relationship.
“The delegation was invited to discuss issues that could be resolved over the years between Ethiopia and Eritrea,” the Ethiopian MFA said in a statement.
Abiy later hosted a dinner for the Eritrean guests at the National Palace, where Saleh praised the warm welcome and Abiy stressed Ethiopia’s desire to move forward as brothers in love and harmony.
Abiy reversed Ethiopia’s refusal to accept the terms of the Algiers Agreement established in 2000, which requires Ethiopian troops to leave the town of Badme and surrounding disputed territory. The ruling followed a two-year conflict in the ethnically and historically linked region, but was never implemented as Ethiopia balked at the findings of the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) that supported Eritrea’s claim to the land.
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki announced he was sending a delegation last week, calling the positive direction “crystal clear” while he remains cautiously optimistic about progress between the two countries.
Images: Ethiopia MFA