For the leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia, 11th September 2018 marks a new dawn, as they celebrate the New Year with the resolve to be more peaceful and united. In a show of unity, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki opened a border crossing at Bure, a region that saw some of the fiercest fightings during the 1998-2000 war. Nearly 80,000 people died during the conflict.
The border has been closed for two decades. It’s reopening paves the way for thousands of separated families to be reunited.
“PM Abiy Ahmed and President Isaias Afwerki are visiting Bure Front along Ethio-Eritrea border to celebrate the New Year with members of the Ethiopian & Eritrean Defence Forces following the full normalization of the relations between the two countries. #Ethiopia #Eritrea,” Fitsum Arega, Abiy’s Chief of Staff, said on Twitter.
Ethiopia and Eritrea reestablished ties after decades of the standoff over a border demarcation ruling that Ethiopia refused to implement.
On the assumption of office, Abiy accepted the ruling and has since signed a peace deal with Eritrean leader Isaias Afwerki. Relations have since July 9 being cordial at all levels – diplomatic, trade, travel etc.
Abiy had declared in June that the New Year was going to be celebrated in Eritrea. He told artists to get ready to celebrate the Ethiopian New Year in Eritrea’s Asmara.
The Ethiopian calendar sets September 11 as the 1st day of the New Year, and large celebrations are usually held around the country to mark this day, which also signifies the approximate end of the rainy season.