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Eritrean leader gets rousing welcome as he 'returns home' to Ethiopia


Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki arrived in neighbouring Ethiopia on Saturday morning for the start of a three-day official visit.

Afwerki was met at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa by his counterpart Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and a high-level government delegation.

PM Abiy’s Chief of Staff, Fitsum Arega, described the occasion as a “return home” for the Eritrean leader. “HE President Afeworki arrives in his other home, Addis Ababa,” Arega said in a tweet.

Scenes similar to what was accorded PM Abiy during his historic visit to the Eritrean capital, Asmara, were seen. Thousands lined the streets from the airport to the presidential palace cheering and joyfully welcoming the visiting president.

As part of his schedule, Afwerki is expected to address a gathering of selected residents at Addis Ababa’s Millenium Hall. He will hold talks with the host government likely to center around renewed relations between the two nations.

Thousands of Ethiopians young and old lined up from Bole International Airport to The President’s Palace singing, cheering & joyfully welcoming HE President Isaias as the motorcade cruised Africa avenue surrounded by traditional horsemen. #Ethiopia #Eritrea pic.twitter.com/tCitXL5UjB

— Fitsum Arega (@fitsumaregaa) July 14, 2018

Afwerki will also be present when Eritrea reopens their embassy in Addis Ababa. That event is slated for Monday, the final day of his visit.

Local media reports that a musical concert is also planned in honour of the visiting president.

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