Eritrea-Ethiopia border opens for the first time in 20 years

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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

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.