Eritrean delegation to visit Addis Ababa after Ethiopian olive branch

Left Ethiopian Pm Abiy Ahmed Ali and right photo Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki

A delegation from Eritrea will arrive in Addis Ababa this week as Ethiopia’s prime minister appears ready to resolve one of Africa’s most intractable military stand-offs.

Eritrea fought a border war with its larger neighbour in 1998-2000 that killed about 70,000 people, and disputes still remain over the still-militarised frontier, in particular the town of Badme.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has outlined a series of radical reforms since taking office in April, made a surprising pledge this month to honour all the terms of a peace deal that ended the conflict.

Abiy, who was at a rally hit by a grenade attack on Saturday, said earlier this month he was prepared to honour international rulings that put Badme, which Ethiopia has refused to cede, in Eritrea.

On Monday, an Ethiopian Foreign Affairs ministry spokesman said representatives from the neighbouring Horn of Africa nation would arrive in Addis Ababa this week.

“A delegation from Eritrea will arrive in Addis Ababa this week,” he told Reuters.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki raised hopes of a breakthrough last week by describing the recent peace overtures from Abiy as “positive signals”.

Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1991 after decades of guerrilla struggle.

Reporting by Aaron Maasho in Addis Ababa, Editing by William Maclean; Writing by Costas Pitas in Nairobi; Editing by Alison Williams

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