Ethiopia, Eritrea begins human-to-human relationships as thaw deepened – Xinhua

ADDIS ABABA, August 17 (Xinhua) – the two ancient rivals in East Africa, Ethiopia and Eritrea, held a cultural symposium on Friday, aimed at strengthening the bond between people between the two countries.

The symposium, which brought together 500 participants from both countries in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, was attended by senior government officials from both countries, while they discussed various issues that included ways to strengthen cultural and linguistic ties, as well as the need for cultural cooperation between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Ethiopian Minister of Culture and Tourism, Fozia Amin, said during the symposium that cultural events are vital to promote the interpersonal ties between the two friendly countries.

The movement to deepen ties between the two countries through interpersonal relations followed the recent momentous climax of the end of the state of war between the two neighbors.

After 20 years of hostility, Ethiopia and Eritrea resumed diplomatic relations last month. On 8 July, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, made a milestone visit to the Red Sea nation and a week later Eritrea's president, Isaias Afwerki, visited Ethiopia.

The two countries had a bloody two-year fighting border war between 1998 and 2000, in which an estimated 70,000 people were killed from both sides. The war was ended by a peace agreement in Algiers of December 2000, but it left the two countries in a state of bitter armed impasse.

Amidst the easing tensions, telecom services between the two countries have resumed, embassies resumed diplomatic relations, and agreements were made to strengthen economic ties. The carriers of the two countries – Ethiopian Airlines and Eritrean Airlines – have also started flights to Asmara and Addis Ababa respectively.

The two countries, in another attempt to tighten their growing ties, also agreed on Friday last week to increase the movement and the amount of bilateral trade via Eritrea's port city of Assab to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The decision to build a pipeline linking the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and the port of Eritrea was also unveiled by the Ethiopian government and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which would lead to land-locked Ethiopia crude oil. export through the Eritrean port, since Ethiopia has recently started extracting oil tests from the Somali regional state in June this year.

According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the implementation of the agreement between the two countries will accelerate and accelerate the efforts of both parties to forge close political, social and human-to-human relations, as well as sec Cooperation on area of ​​security.

"There is still a huge opportunity to explore in terms of further opening up new locations for cooperation and partnership between Ethiopia and Eritrea and to facilitate the process of economic integration in the region," the ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Recent positive developments in relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea were also praised by the international community.

The outgoing representative of the UN Development Program (UNDP) and the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia, Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, said the movement between the two countries showed the dedication of leadership.

"We stand for a world where many leaders do not promote reconciliation and bridge building." Eziakonwa-Onochie recently said.

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