Months after Horn of Africa neighbours Eritrea and Ethiopia opened their borders to each other and mended diplomatic ties, Eritrea has again opened up to Somalia through the first visit of President Isaias Afwerki since he assumed office in 1993.
Afwerki landed in Mogadishu on Thursday to boost diplomatic relations and explore areas to cooperate in security and investment, says a statement from Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi’s office, cited by Reuters.
According to a tweet by the Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Meskel, “President Isaias’s historic visit is part and parcel of the consultative Tripartite Summits of the Heads of State and Government of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.”
Leaders of the two countries had pledged to mend ties in July following the improved diplomatic relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Somalia and Eritrea have for over a decade traded accusations of either party supporting anti-government insurgents.
In 2007, Eritrea walked out of the East African bloc IGAD in protest as Ethiopian forces entered Somalia to fight militants, reports Reuters.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed charted the Horn of Africa diplomatic restoration path after the historic visit to Eritrea in July where he met President Isaias Afwerki and they mended ties which were broken since 1998 when a border war at Badme broke out.
Afwerki also paid his first visit to Ethiopia a week after Abiy’s gesture and the borders were opened, phone lines were opened, flights between the two countries resumed, seaports were opened and embassies were re-opened in their respective capitals.
Here are photos of the Eritrean president’s first visit to Somalia.