After rapid positive developments of relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia, filled with a series of initiatives, President Isaias Afwerki paid a three-day visit to Ethiopia. Thousands of people gathered in the streets of Addis Ababa to welcome the President Isaias and his delegation.
These developments took people with surprise. Dr. Mulatu Teshome, president of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, presented a silver to honor President Isaias and said “I have never thought these developments would be possible in the near future and at such a quick pace”. Artist Debebe Eshetu, 70 years old, said that “I never have expected to see this in my life time”. These are some of the feelings shared by many Ethiopians and Eritreans alike.
Following the heart-touching welcoming ceremony of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmad by the people of Asmara, the media outlets of Ethiopia expressed their appreciation of the peace-loving people of Eritrea and have been calling upon the people of Ethiopia to welcome President Isaias in the same manner. But they never expected that it would happen only a week after Prime Minister Abiy’s visit.
Following the official visit of Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed to Eritrea, the meeting of the two leaders has been described as historic that will herald a new era of peace and cooperation.
On 14 July, President Isaias arrived at Bole International Airport and was accorded a warm welcome by PM Abiy Ahmad, regional administrators, religious leaders, renowned artists, and a number of dancers who represent different ethnic groups. Starting from the early morning hours people turned out in their thousands to stand on the road side extending from the airport to the state palace, Meskel Square and other places. Waving the flags of Eritrea and Ethiopia, hundreds of thousands of people chanted the names of both leaders. PM. Abiy said “this kind of warm welcome ceremony to any foreign leader is unprecedented in the history of Ethiopia”.
In his visit, President Isaias was accompanied by Foreign Minister Osman Saleh, Presidential Advisor Mr. Yemane Gebreab, Minister of Justice Ms. Fouzia Hashem, Minister of Tourism Ms. Askalu Menkerious, Naval commander Maj. Gene. Humed Karikare, Central Region administrator Maj. Gen. Romodan Osman Awliyay, Minister of National Development Dr. Giorgis Teklemichael, Minister of Transportation and Communication Mr. Tesfaslasie Berhane, and deputy of the National Security Bri. Gen. Abraha Kasa. Upon arrival they were sprayed with water as a sign of good wish. Cannons were fired in honor of the president and his companions. The friendly hugging in Asmara last week was repeated in Addis and the national anthem of Eritrea was heard at the airport after more than twenty years.
After the welcome ceremony at the airport, President Isaias and the high level Eritrean delegation headed for the national palace in a motorcade escorted by traditional horsemen as thousands on the street cheered waving Ethiopian and Eritrean flags.
President Isaias delivered a speech at the special occasion organized at the Millennium Hall in honor of the peace and friendship agreement reached between the two countries. Thanking the people of Ethiopia for their warm welcome, President Isaias said on the occasion that “this is a historic day for all of us”. The gathering was attended by more than 25 thousand including Ethiopian Government officials, religious leaders, members of the diplomatic corps and residents of Addis Ababa.
In the first day of his visit President Isaias and the Eritrean delegation visited Hawassa Industrial Park, 300 KM away from Addis Ababa, and in the afternoon hours of July 15, they visited various infrastructure facilities in the city of Addis Ababa. In the morning hours of 14 July, President Isaias, accompanied by Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, was accorded a warm welcome upon arrival in Hawassa by the residents of the city as well as officials of the State of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples.
At the dinner reception hosted at Haile Resort in honor of President Isaias and his delegation, President Isaias and his delegation were presented with a variety of gifts. The event was made colorful by cultural performances of various ethnic groups.
Speaking at the event, President Isaias expressed deep appreciation for the warm welcome he and his delegation were accorded. The President went on to say that the exchange of visits have created an opportunity for the peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia to express their true feelings.
“Both nations will work together to safeguard the newfound peace for the sake of our culture and our historic benefit, we forsake the hatred and revenge of the past and we have decided to go forward for our mutual development and for mutual benefit. We will not allow anyone to break our relationship, our development and our growth and to create conflict between us”.
At the event President Dr. Mulatu Teshome handed over gifts to President Isaias. The Oromia regional state also gave President Isaias a fully decorated horse as a gift.
On the third day of the official visit President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed re-opened the Eritrean embassy in Addis Ababa. The two leaders jointly raised the Eritrean flag as a military band played the Eritrean national anthem.
Speech delivered by President Isaias Afwerki at Millennium hall, in Addis Abeba
Distinguished People of Ethiopia
Your Excellency, Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali
I feel boundless joy as I convey to you the message of peace, love and good wishes of the people of Eritrea. And, I congratulate you warmly for the successful and historic changes that you have brought about.
We have triumphed over the toxic schemes of the past years aimed at sowing the seeds of hate, resentment and destruction. These malignant acts are indeed anathema to our cultures as well as to our historical and cohesive interests. We are now jointly embarking – with determination – on the path of development, prosperity and stability in all fields and fronts.
We shall not tolerate any act that is aimed at disrupting and disturbing our love and harmony; assailing and terrorizing our peace and stability; and, impeding and destroying our development and growth.
We are fully confident that through our joint endeavors, we will recuperate the losses inculcated in the past to achieve robust feats in the period ahead.
Let me pay tribute again for the victory you have won through vigorous resistance and that has exacted heavy sacrifices. I also wish to express my wholehearted support to Dr. Abiy; and, to his visionary and courageous leadership. I wish him further success.
I thank you
June 5 2018
The Ethiopian government declared that it will accept and implement fully and without any precondition the Algiers Agreement and the EEBC ruling
20 June 2018
The Eritrean government announced that will send a high level delegation to Addis Abeba to gauge current developments directly and in depth as well as to chart out a plan for continuous future action
8 July 2018
Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia arrived in Asmara for a two day visit
9 July 2018
Eritrea and Ethiopia announced a Joint declaration of Peace
13 July 2108
President Isaias Afwerki announced that he is departing to Addis Ababa on the occasion of the 31st round of the National service Graduation
14 July 2108
President Isaias arrived in Addis Ababa after twenty two year to pay an official visit
Compiled by Habtom Tesfamichael