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Eritrea's President to Officially Visit Ethiopia

18 July 2018

"For many years I was praying the two countries would make peace, today I thank god for showing me this wonderful moment of peace and love between Ethiopia and Eritrea", Kejela told Xinhua.

"The visit will cement further/add momentum to the joint march for peace and cooperation set in motion by both leaders", Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel said on Twitter on Friday.

Ahmed's chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, also confirmed the Eritrean president's three-day state visit for tomorrow. The two states are resuming their diplomatic ties for the sake of restoring to peace after 2 decades of enmity.

The 42-year-old Abiy broke the ice last month by fully embracing a peace deal that ended a 1998-2000 border war that killed tens of thousands and left families separated. But after a recent decision by the Ethiopian government to vacate its troops from the war's flashpoint, the town of Badme, Asmara warmed up to an offer to rekindle ties. An estimated 80,000 people are thought to have died during the two-year war.

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Now attention shifts to Eritrea, one of the world's most reclusive nations, which has been ruled by Isaias since it gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993. On social media, nationals of both countries expressed their delight with the thaw in relations. The duo were whisked into a vehicle of an awaiting convoy. He was greeted by Abiy in a red-carpet welcome, with people dancing at the airport and thousands of residents of the capital, Addis Ababa, lining the streets to see Isaias' motorcade.

Business is another focus, as landlocked Ethiopia seeks outlets for its fast-growing economy and already has signed agreements to use Eritrea's port facilities.

One such Ethiopian was Tariku Kejela who said he had a personal reason to cheer the reconciliation steps the two leaders are undertaking.

Al Jazeera's Mohamed Adow, reporting from Addis Ababa, said on Monday that both countries stand a chance to benefit economically from the new reality. Chants of "Go home Isaias!" could be heard as the tone of the crowds on the street started to turn decisively nationalist.

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The leaders then drove into the city on a road lined with thousands of people dressed in white shawls and waving palm fronds as Ethiopian and Eritrean flags flew side-by-side from lampposts.

The Eritrean President would next meet with a host of Ethiopian diplomats, among them Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome, Oromia regional President Lemma Megersa.

The Eritrean delegation is also scheduled to visit the Hawassa Industrial Park, 270 kilometers south of the capital, and on Sunday it will attend a music festival by famous Ethiopian singers.

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Eritrea's President to Officially Visit Ethiopia