Eritrea to send delegation to Ethiopia for talks

Move by Asmara comes after Addis Ababa said it will comply with peace deal and withdraw from contested border regions.

    Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki said the East African country will dispatch a delegation to Addis Ababa to "gauge current developments" in the region following peace overtures from Ethiopia's new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

    "We will send a delegation to [Addis Ababa] to gauge current developments directly and in depth as well as to chart out a plan for continuous future action," Isaias said on Wednesday during a speech in Eritrea.

    "The events and developments that have unfolded in our region in general and in Ethiopia in particular in the recent period warrant appropriate attention," he added.

    Addis Ababa announced on June 5 that it will fully accept the terms of a peace agreement with Asmara in a major step towards calming deadly tensions with its decades-long rival.

    The agreement signed in 2000 ended a two-year war.

    "The suffering on both sides is unspeakable because the peace process is deadlocked. This must change for the sake of our common good," Fitsum Arega, the chief of staff for the Ethiopian prime minister's office, said early this month.

    Ethiopia became landlocked in 1993 after Eritrea, which comprised the country's entire Red Sea coast, voted to leave.

    But the neighbours were soon at war over the demarcation of their shared border, a conflict that would leave 80,000 people dead and degenerate into a stalemate.

    Hundreds would die in subsequent years in periodic border clashes after Ethiopia's refusal to accept the ruling of an UN-backed boundary commission that divided up contested territory between the two countries.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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