First commercial flight in 20 years leaves Ethiopia for Eritrea: airline

ADDIS ABABA: The first commercial flight to Eritrea in two decades departed Wednesday from Addis Ababa, according to the Ethiopian Airlines website, after the two nations ended their bitter conflict in a whirlwind peace process.

Ethiopian Airlines indicated that flight ET0312 to Asmara had left Bole International Airport, after a ceremony inaugurating the flight, which chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam described as a “unique event in the history of Ethiopia and Eritrea.”

Eritrea’s president in Ethiopia for three-day visit as relations improve

Earlier, Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki arrived in the Ethiopian capital on Saturday for a three-day visit, Ethiopia’s state-run broadcaster reported, days after the two neighbors declared their “state of war” over.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met Isaias at the airport. The two leaders hugged and left together in the same armored SUV, in the latest sign of rapprochement between the Horn of Africa neighbors.

“Welcome home President Isaias!!” Abiy’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, wrote on Twitter, saying the Eritrean leader “received a heartfelt warm welcome” from the Ethiopian prime minister on his arrival.

Scores injured in grenade blast at Ethiopian PM’s rally

The meeting comes a week after Abiy visited Eritrea and signed a pact with Isaias on resuming ties, a move that ended a near 20-year military standoff after a border war.

Eritrea formally seceded from Ethiopia in 1993 after a long war of independence, but the two went to war in 1998 over a border dispute. Although a peace deal was signed two years later, Ethiopia refused to implement it, saying it wanted more talks.

Both neighbours have so far agreed to open embassies, develop ports and restart flights

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