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Ethiopia and Eritrea leaders to reportedly meet soon

28th June 2018 - 17:27 GMT | by ​Agence France-Presse in Addis Ababa

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The leaders of arch-enemies Ethiopia and Eritrea will meet soon for the first time in nearly two decades, Ethiopian state media reported on 28 June.

Senior Eritrean officials arrived in Ethiopia earlier in the week of 25 June in the first official visit between the two nations since a 1998-2000 border war left relations in tatters.

The state-affiliated Fana Broadcast Corporate said: ‘Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki will meet soon.’

The diplomatic thaw comes in response to an olive branch extended by Abiy.

The premier announced earlier in June 2018 that Ethiopia would cede territory it has continued to occupy despite a UN-backed boundary commission ruling in 2002 that the land belonged to Eritrea.

Eritrea has used what it calls Ethiopia's illegal occupation to freeze relations with Addis Ababa. The tensions have also been used to justify repressive domestic policies including an indefinite national service programme that the UN says amounts to slavery.

A one-time province of Ethiopia that comprised its entire coastline, Eritrea voted for independence in 1993 after a decades-long conflict, but the two countries went to war five years later over the demarcation of their border.

The 1998-2000 conflict killed more than 80,000 people and led to a lengthy cold war between the two closely-related nations.

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