Eritrea-Ethiopia border opens for the first time in 20 years
The border between Eritrea and Ethiopia has opened for the first time in 20 years as the two country’s move forward with their reconciliation efforts.
The land border between the neighbouring countries has been closed for two decades as part of a bitter border dispute and conflict over disputed territory. However, the former rivals signed a peace deal earlier this year and promised to build bilateral ties after 20 years of war.
Eritrea and Ethiopia open border
Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki attended ceremonies at the eastern and western ends of the border on Tuesday. Soldiers lined a red-carpeted road crossing the border with crowds gathering from both countries to greet each other and celebrate.
The opening of roads between the two countries is the latest move in a series of reconciliation efforts between the two countries. Contrary to previous Ethiopian leaders, new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has vowed to adhere to a UN-backed border ruling that places disputed territory in Eritrea.
The move hasn’t been popular with everyone – particularly those living in Badme, the key disputed area – but Abiy has been hailed a peace hero by many Ethiopians. The move also allows the country to build bilateral ties with Ethiopia and the redevelopment of ports is a crucial factor for land-locked Ethiopia.
Featured image: By Skilla1st – Own work using: Eritrea location map.svg by NordNordWest, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25055977