Champagne as historic commercial flight links Ethiopia and Eritrea

20 July, 2018, 20:44 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Ethiopia Resumes Commercial Flights to Eritrea

United Nations-backed Eritrea claimed the town of Badme, but Ethiopia refused to relent, forcing the clash to last as long as it has.

"Welcome home President Isaias!"

The first commercial flights from Ethiopia to Eritrea in 20 years took off early on Wednesday, sealing a stunning reconciliation between the former enemies a week after they ended their military standoff.

Ethiopian Airlines said Flight ET0312 had arrived in the Eritrean capital Asmara after a one-and-a-half hour flight from Addis Ababa - the latest sign of a thaw between the neighbouring countries that began just six weeks ago. Ethiopian Airlines on Tuesday said it would buy a 20 percent stake in Eritrean Airlines.

The airline shared a photo of two pilots in one of their plane's cockpit on Twitter with the caption "The clock is ticking for our historic flight to #Asmara".

"The fact that we are taking two flights at a time shows the eagerness of the people", said GebreMariam.

Smiling flight attendants also handed out roses to passengers. "When we say we have reconciled, we mean we have chosen a path of forgiveness and love", Abiy told concertgoers.

"Eshetu said: "I am Selehadin and I am calling from Ethiopia".

Passengers included former Ethiopian Prime Minister Haliemariam Desalegn, who upon landing led the travelers off the plane and onto a red carpet at the airport.

The rapprochement could help Ethiopia, a landlocked country of 100 million people with the largest economy in East Africa, by making access to Eritrea's ports possible.

"I knew one day it would happen", Hailemariam said of the peace with Eritrea. The Horn of Africa neighbours declared on Monday that their "state of war" over after two decades.

Surafel Demissie, an Ethiopian priest whose parents died during his childhood, had never been to Eritrea - the country of his mother's birth - nor met any family members.

Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a border war from 1998 to 2000 that killed an estimated 70,000 people from both sides. Eritrea's embassy in Ethiopia opened this week and Ethiopia is poised to open its Asmara embassy, the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported Wednesday, citing the foreign ministry.

Eritrean women hold up the flag of Eritrea on July 18, 2018, to welcome passengers of the flight from Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, upon their arrival.

Eritrea, one of the world's most reclusive nations, has been ruled by President Isaias Afwerki since it gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993.

The global community, including the United States, has embraced the reunion as a welcome development in a key, and often unstable, region along one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and across from the Arabian Peninsula.



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