The leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea have reopened border crossing points and celebrated the Ethiopian New Year together on their shared frontier, where a fierce war had taken place two decades ago.
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali “officially opened the Debay Sima-Burre border point between the two countries for road transport connectivity,” Eritrea’s Information Minister Yemane Meskel said in a tweet on Tuesday.
According to footage on Ethiopia’s state TV, the two leaders then opened the Serha-Zalambesa crossing in a second ceremony.
Fitsum Arega, Ali’s Chief of Staff, said the leaders also celebrated the Ethiopian New Year together at the border.
“PM Abiy Ahmed and President Isaias Afwerki are visiting Bure Front along Ethio-Eritrea border to celebrate the New Year with members of the Ethiopian & Eritrean Defense Forces following the full normalization of the relations between the two countries. #Ethiopia #Eritrea,” Arega tweeted.
Arega also posted pictures showing Ali and Isaias walking side by side on his Twitter account.
The Horn of Africa nations had been at loggerheads since Ethiopia rejected a United Nations ruling and refused to cede land to Eritrea along the countries’ border following the 1998-2000 war.
However, in June 2018, Ali announced that his country would abide by the 2002 ruling requiring it to cede territory, including Badme, and withdraw its forces.