In Summary
  • The statement declared that the "state of war that existed between the two countries has come to an end
  • Free movement across the border will also unite, once again, two peoples closely linked by history, language and ethnicity.

ADDIS ABABA,

Ethiopia and Eritrea are no longer at war, the neighbouring nations said in a joint statement Monday after a series of historic meetings in Asmara to end decades of acrimony and conflict.

Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel said on Twitter that Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, 41, and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, 71, had inked a "Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship" on the second day of the state visit.

The statement declared that the "state of war that existed between the two countries has come to an end. A new era of peace and friendship has been ushered (in)."

 "Both countries will work to promote close cooperation in political, economic, social, cultural and security areas," Yemane added.

Images of the ceremony showed the two men sharing a wooden desk, backed by their nations' flags, as they simultaneously signed the document.

TRADE TIES 

The declaration echoed comments made by Abiy at a dinner hosted by Isaias late Sunday, where he said diplomatic, trade, transport and communications ties would be re-established and borders re-opened.

 "We agreed that the airlines will start operating, the ports will be accessible, people can move between the two countries and the embassies will be opened," Abiy said.

 "We will demolish the wall and, with love, build a bridge between the two countries," he said.

 Ethiopia's state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported that Ethiopian Airlines would begin passenger flights between the two capitals as early as next week.

 Direct telephone communications were also restored for the first time in two decades, sparking emotional phone calls between long-separated families on both sides of the border.

 PRODUCT DESIGNER

"No words!" a 30-year-old product designer in Addis Ababa told AFP after a phone call from family in Eritrea he hadn't heard from since the war.

 "I was crying at home by myself. There are many people who passed away waiting for this day to come," he added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

 Abiy left Asmara after signing the joint agreement on Monday to return to Addis Ababa.

 United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres hailed the dizzying peace process as "a very important symbol of hope not only for the two countries, not only for Africa, but for the whole world."

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