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Eritrea president to visit Ethiopia on Saturday

eritrea, Isaias Afwerki
Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki. He will visit Ethiopia on July 14, 2018. AFP PHOTO | FILE 

Eritrea's president, Isaias Afwerki, will visit neighbouring Ethiopia on Saturday, an official said Friday, in the latest step towards peace and reconciliation between the long-time foes.

"President Isaias Afwerki will lead a delegation and pay (an) official visit to Ethiopia tomorrow, 14th July," Eritrea's Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel said on Twitter.

"The visit will cement further/add momentum to the joint march for peace and cooperation set in motion by both leaders."

The leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a declaration ending the state of war between the two countries on Monday, during a groundbreaking visit to Asmara by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The rapid rapprochement aimed at ending decades of animosity and conflict was begun by Abiy who last month agreed to abide by a UN-backed border ruling and hand disputed territories back to Eritrea.

That move opened the door to direct negotiations between Abiy and Isaias and the proposed resumption of diplomatic and trade ties.

Telephone lines between the nations opened up this week for the first time in two decades and direct flights are due to start next week.

Once a province of Ethiopia, Eritrea seceded in 1993 after a long independence struggle, but a row over the demarcation of the shared border triggered a brutal 1998-2000 conflict, from which relations are only now recovering.

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