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Eritrea rejoins east Africa trade and security bloc IGAD after 16 years

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki   -  
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Florence Lo/AP


Eritrea says it is ready to work toward "peace, stability and regional integration after it rejoined the East African bloc, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Monday.

It comes nearly 16 years after the politically isolated state pulled out of the bloc.

Information Minister Yemane Meskel said Eritrea resumed its activity in IGAD and took its seat at a summit organized by the seven-nation bloc in Djibouti on Monday.

The east African nation led by 77 year old Isaias Afwerki who has ruled for three decades, had suspended its IGAD membership in 2007 after a string of disagreements. One of them was the bloc's decision to ask Kenya to oversee the resolution of a border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Eritrea broke away from Ethiopia its neighbor in 1993 and fought a two-year border war that prolonged into tense and bitter relations until 2018 when a peace agreement was signed with Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia's prime minister.

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