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Important in Africa

Ethiopian Airlines says will resume flights to Eritrea's capital on July 17


Ethiopian Airlines said on Tuesday it would resume flights to Eritreas capital Asmara on July 17 for the first time in 20 years, a day after the neighbors and longtime foes declared their state of war over.

In a historic deal on Monday, the Horn of Africa neighbors agreed to open embassies, develop ports and resume flights, concrete signs of a rapprochement that has swept away two decades of hostility since war erupted over their disputed frontier in 1998.

With the opening of a new chapter of peace and friendship between the two sisterly countries, we look forward to starting flights to Asmara with the B787, the firms Chief Executive Tewolde GebreMariam said, referring to a Boeing jet.

Mondays announcement formally ended one of Africas most intractable military stand-offs, a conflict that has destabilized the region and seen both governments funnel large parts of their budgets into security and soldiers.

The 1998-2000 border war killed an estimated 80,000 people. Tens of thousands were also deported, splitting groups that shared bloodlines.

The rapproachment followed a visit to Asmara by Ethiopias Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who embraced Eritreas President Isaias Afwerki on the airport runway.

Thousands of Eritreans came onto the streets to cheer them and the two men danced side by side to traditional music from both countries at a dinner that evening.

The deal signed between them on Monday also includes a resumption of phone connections.

Ethiopias state-run telecoms monopoly Ethio Telecom sent text messages to its subscribers late on Monday, announcing with happiness the restoration of phone links.


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