Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

Ethiopia’s leader arrives in Eritrea for unprecedented summit between former enemies

Published on July 8, 2018 by   ·   No Comments

Ethio­pian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed traveled Sunday to Eritrea, once a bitter rival, for an unprecedented summit with its longtime leader, Isaias Afwerki.

State Eritrean television showed an Ethio­pian Airlines plane landing at the sparse airport in the Eritrean capital of Asmara, where a brass band was drawn up to greet the prime minister for the first such visit in two decades.

The two Horn of Africa neighbors have been sworn enemies for the past 20 years since fighting a brutal ground war from 1998 to 2000 that saw at least 70,000 killed. In the intervening years, the two sides have clashed repeatedly and supported rival rebel movements.

Abiy was greeted by Isaias himself at the airport and they strode past the uniformed band and honor guard, occasionally smiling and laughing together — a marked contrast to the Eritrean president’s normally stone faced public appearances.

The two men were welcomed by women in traditional dress waving palm fronds as well as rows of officials before they retired to the airport VIP lounge and sat beneath portraits of themselves sipping juice.

Before departing from the airport, Abiy waded into the crowd of welcoming women and exchanged hugs

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