Eritrea's President to Visit Ethiopia as Relations Rebound

(Bloomberg) -- Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki will make an historic visit to Ethiopia on Saturday, days after the once-bitter foes declared peace and agreed to reestablish economic links.

Isaias’s visit will mirror Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s groundbreaking trip to neighboring Eritrea last weekend. The two countries -- at odds since a 1998-2000 border war that claimed as many as 100,000 lives -- sealed a swathe of agreements, restoring diplomatic relations, flights and telecommunications, as well as allowing Ethiopia’s use of Red Sea ports.

Foreign observers described the peace declaration as a boost for regional stability, and there were signs that United Nations sanctions, imposed on Eritrea in 2009, may be lifted. Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1993 after decades of conflict.

Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel said on Twitter that Isaias’ visit will “add momentum to the joint march for peace and cooperation set in motion by both leaders.”

Isaias’ trip will include a visit to an industrial park in Hawassa in southern Ethiopia and a joint address with Abiy at the Millennium Hall in the capital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Information Minister Ahmed Shide said in a televised address. An Eritrean embassy will be inaugurated in the capital on Sunday, he said.

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