Eritrean delegation arrives in Ethiopia for peace talks

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A delegation of top officials from Eritrea has arrived in Ethiopia for the first peace talks in 20 years.

Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Sale and others were welcomed at the airport by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, signifying the importance of their visit.

The delegation came after Abiy, Ethiopia’s new, reformist leader, surprised his country earlier this month by stating that he fully accepts a peace deal from 2000 that ended the border war with Eritrea that killed tens of thousands of people.

Report says although outright fighting has stopped, the peace agreement has not been implemented and relations between the two countries have remained tense.

Ethiopia and Eritrea have not opened diplomatic relations and their forces have engaged in combats a number of times in recent years.

First Visit Since 1998
The Eritrean visit is the first since the war broke out in 1998 and came after conciliatory gestures were made by both sides aimed at ending one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts.

Ethiopia had refused to accept the agreement’s terms that gave Eritrea control of key locations, including the city of Badme, which Ethiopia continues to control.

No further details have been announced about negotiations between the two Horn of Africa countries, but a dinner reception is scheduled for the Eritrean visitors at the Ethiopian national palace later Tuesday.

AP/Confidence