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Eritrea prez in Ethiopia: dam inauguration in Oromia

Eritrea prez in Ethiopia: dam inauguration in Oromia

Eritrea

May 4: Dam inauguration in Oromia

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed along with visiting Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki inaugurated an irrigation project located in the Oromia regional state today.

The Batu Dugda irrigation project currently has a capacity of developing 2,000 hectares of land with a potential to develop 15,000 hectares up on the completion of its expansion works, state-run FBC reported.

Oromia president Shemelis Abdissa and former PM Hailemariam Dessalegn, were also in attendance at the ceremony. The two leaders also visited a nursery site in Dugda woreda, FBC added.

Busy first day in Addis

The Eritrean president had a relatively busy first day on his trip to Ethiopia. According to Information Minister Yemane Meskel, he was received at the Bole International Airport by PM Abiy following which they discussed bilateral and regional issue.

“President Sahle-work hosted luncheon for the President and his delegation,” the Minister added in a tweet. The event was held at a public restaurant in the capital.

Former Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn, and President of the Oromia Region, Shimeles Abdissa, attended the luncheon after which Afwerki and his delegation also visited some sites in Addis Ababa.

May 3: Afwerki leaves Asmara for Addis Ababa

Eritrea president Isaias Afwerki on Sunday morning left the country for Ethiopia for a two-day summit with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali.

According to the Eritrean information minister, the president’s trip bordered on three areas: bilateral ties, the fight against COVID-19 and locust infestation as well as regional matters.

Accompanying the president are the Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and presidential advisor Yemane Ghebreab. Visits between the two neighbours have been regular in the past few years after a historic thawing of relations in 2018.

Bilateral relations have grown over the past two years even though analysts have asked that efforts at consolidation must be further strengthened. Relations boosters include resumption of flights, reopening of embassies, reestablishing of telephone lines amongst others.

On the subject of reopening of border crossings, they were held to much fanfare in 2018 and 2019 but have since been unilaterally closed by Eritrea. The handing over of the contentious town of Badme and demilitarization of the borders remain outstanding.

With respect to COVID-19, the two countries have relatively low infection rates in the East, Horn of Africa region. Whiles Ethiopia is leading calls for international debt relief and championing virus aid efforts, Eritrea is raising funds – home and abroad – from nationals to combat the pandemic.

The COVID-19 case file for each country as of May 3 (07:00 GMT) is as follows:

Ethiopia: Confirmed cases = 133. Recoveries = 69. Deaths = 3
Eritrea: Confirmed cases = 39. Recoveries = 26. Deaths = 0

The East Africa locust invasion has also impacted parts of the two countries as well as Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Afwerki and Abiy have exchanged bilateral visits since then, with the mooting of the idea of a new regional bloc on the cards. The two leaders along with the Somali counterpart Mohammed Abdullahi Farmaajo have also held trilateral summits in Asmara and Bahir Dar in the recent past.

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