Last Updated: 2018-09-12
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ADDIS ABABA, Sept 12 (NNN-ENA) -- Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Isaias Afeworki of Eritrea celebrated the New Ethiopian Year together at Bure checkpoint at the Ethiopian-Eritrean border on Tuesday, along with members of the Ethiopian and Eritrean defence forces.

The two leaders officially opened the Debay Sima-Burre border checkpoints between Ethiopia and Eritrea for road transport connectivity, marking the reopening of the border crossing for the first time in about 20 years.

Abiy and President Isaias later proceeded to the border town of Zalambesa along the Serha-Zalambesa road connection. The Prime Minister had said Monday that the Ethiopian defence forces and their Eritrean counterparts were set to celebrate the Ethiopian New Year together at the border.

Ethiopia and Eritrea entered a border war in 1998, seven years after Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia. As a result of the conflict, both countries diverted scarce resources from vital public services and developmental endeavours into weapons procurement.

The war shattered family lives of millions of people on both sides of the border besides depriving Ethiopia of its access to Eritrean ports as well as cutting Eritrea off from the largest market in the Horn of Africa sub-region.

The two countries fought a border war from 1998 to 2000 which killed about 80,000 people, and disputes still remain over the still-militarized frontier. However, a new era of bilateral relations began after Abiy declared in July Ethiopia’s acceptance of the Algiers Peace Accord which ended the war of 1998-2000. -- NNN-ENA