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Ethiopian, Eritrean leaders reopen border closed for more than 20 years to ease trade

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (left) and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki have reopened their common border Oumhajir-Humera. They say the move will ease trade and social relations, among others. (FILE PHOTO)

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia and Eritrea have reopened the Omhager-Humera frontier which has been closed for more than two decades, Xinhua reports.

The daily reports that Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki on Monday January 7 officially reopened the Oumhager-Humera border crossing that connects the two countries.

According to Xinhua the newly reopened frontier, which had been closed for more than twenty years due to the dreadful political ties among the two countries, is the latest move as the two former long-time foes ushered a new beginning to their relations.

Accompanied by senior officials of the two East African countries, the two leaders witnessed the occasion.  According to Eritrea’s Minister of Information Yemane Gebremeskel, reopening of the road is in line with article 3 of the Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship that the two countries signed on July 9 last year.

The opening of the border is anticipated to further enable the people-to-people relation on both sides, as well as to facilitate cross-border trade among the two countries, a statement released said.

Recent positive developments between Ethiopia and Eritrea ended two decades of bitter armed standoff which followed a bloody border war in 1998-2000.  Amid the easing tensions, telecom services between the two countries have resumed, embassies resumed diplomatic relations, and agreements were made to strengthen economic ties.

Both Ethiopian Airlines and Eritrean Airlines have started flights to Asmara and Addis Ababa respectively.

In September last year, Ethiopia reopened its embassy in Asmara, the Eritrean capital, after the latter reopened its own in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa in July.

The two countries are also undertaking steps to strengthen cultural and people-to-people links between the two countries.

 

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