Landmark Ethiopia-Eritrea Talks Take Place

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A high level delegation from Eritrea arrived this morning to discuss peace between to two neighbours. Following a number of positive steps, new Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said that he is ready to honour all the terms of a peace deal that the two countries signed in 2000.

The Eritrean delegation was made up of president adviser Yemane Gebreab, Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and the envoy to the African Union.

Eritreat fought a violent border war with Ethiopia that claimed the lives of 80,000 people between 1998 and 2000. To this day both sides had remained at odds over the status of the frontier town of Badme – the border has been militarised ever since.

Abiy, who was at a rally hit by a grenade attack on Saturday, has made a series of other startling announcements since he took office in April, including plans for the partial privatisation of the state-run telecoms monopoly and state-owned Ethiopian Airlines.

Eritrea and Ethiopia broke off diplomatic relations two decades ago, although Asmara has a permanent delegation in Addis Ababa representing it at the African Union, whose headquarters are in the Ethiopian capital.

No Eritrean representatives have been part of an official visit for talks with the Ethiopian government since at least 1998.