Eritrea has reopened its embassy in Ethiopia. The reopening Monday came a week after the two countries declared an end to two decades of a military stalemate over a border war in which tens of thousands of people died.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed handed Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki the keys to the embassy located in downtown Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.
The embassy opening marked the end of Isaia’s three-day visit to Ethiopia.
Thousands cheered in Addis Ababa Sunday as Abiy and Isaias embraced at a concert celebrating a peace deal between the two former bloody enemies.
“Hate, discrimination, and conspiracy are now over,” Isaias told Ethiopians as he was close to tears. “We are ready to move forward with you as one. No one can steal the love we have regained now.”
“Forgiveness frees the consciousness. When we say we have reconciled, we mean we have chosen a path of forgiveness and love,” Abiy said.
Abiy was in Eritrea last week, a month after announcing Ethiopia was finally accepting the peace treaty it signed with Eritrea in 2000, ending two years of war. The Eritreans immediately followed.
In addition to agreeing to reopen shuttered embassies, both countries have also agreed to resume flights and build ports.
Under the peace agreement, Ethiopia will hand over disputed border regions to Eritrea.
Eritrea was part of Ethiopia until it broke away and declared independence in 1993.
Eritrea — located in the Horn of Africa along the Red Sea –has long been under U.N. sanctions because of its alleged support of extremists. Its reclusive government has been accused of human rights violations and thousands of Eritreans have fled the country to escape poverty and avoid compulsory military service.
Leaders of both Ethiopia and Eritrea hope the peace deal will lead to more economic development.