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Eritrea Reopens Embassy in Ethiopia

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, foreground left is welcomed by Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed upon his arrival at Addis Ababa International Airport, Ethiopia, Saturday, July 14, 2018. (AP Photo Mulugeta Aye
Eritrea Reopens Embassy in Ethiopia
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Eritrea reopened its embassy in Ethiopia on Monday.

The official reopening came a week after the two sides declared an end to 20 years of a military stalemate. The countries fought a border war in which tens of thousands of people died.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki attended the event Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. Abiy officially gave the keys to the embassy to Afwerki. The embassy’s reopening marked the end of the Eritrean leader's three-day visit to Ethiopia.

On Sunday, Abiy and Isaias attended a concert in Addis Ababa. The show was organized to celebrate a peace agreement between their countries.

Thousands of people cheered as the two leaders put their arms around the other as a sign of friendship.

"Hate, discrimination, and conspiracy is now over," Afwerki told Ethiopians. "We are ready to move forward with you as one. No one can steal the love we have regained now."

"When we say we have reconciled, we mean we have chosen a path of forgiveness and love," Abiy said.

Abiy took office in April. He is Ethiopia’s first leader from the Oromo ethnic group. The Oromos have led three years of anti-government protests that left hundreds dead.

On Saturday, thousands of people stood along the streets of Addis Ababa, some waving Eritrean flags, to celebrate the visit.

Last week, Abiy traveled to Asmara, Eritrea’s capital, where the two leaders signed the agreement ending the state of war.

In addition to reopening their embassies, the two sides agreed to build ports and restart flights between their countries. They also agreed to permit the reuniting of families that have been divided by the conflict.

Under the peace agreement, Ethiopia will surrender disputed border areas to Eritrea.

Eritrea was part of Ethiopia until it broke away. It declared independence in 1993.

Eritrea has long been a target of international sanctions. The United Nations Security Council approved the measures because of the country’s suspected support of extremists.

The Eritrean government also has been accused of human rights violations.

Thousands of Eritreans have fled the country to escape poverty and avoid required military service.

Leaders of both Ethiopia and Eritrea hope the peace deal will lead to more economic development.

I’m Dorothy Gundy.

VOA’s Kenneth Schwartz and Fern Robinson wrote this story. Susan Shand adapted their story for Learning English. The editor was George Grow.

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Words in This Story

stalemate – n. a contest, dispute, competition, etc., in which neither side can gain an advantage or win

key - n. a device that is used to open a lock or start an automobile

conspiracyn.a plot against someone or something

reconcile – cause people or groups to become friendly again after an argument or disagreement

sanctions – n. an action that is taken or an order that is given to force a country to obey international laws by limiting or stopping trade with that country, by not allowing economic aid for that country