ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
The Horn of Africa, once considered Africa’s
troubled region, has witnessed a new high in the
relations among neighboring countries as leaders of
Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia declared new
Minister Abiy Ahmed, Eritrean President Isaias
Afwerki and Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi
Mohamed, stressed in a joint statement released
after their two-day meeting in Ethiopia’ s northern
city of Bahir Dar late Saturday that they would work
towards the historic transformation of the Horn of
Africa region towards peace and integration.
The three leaders’ commitment marked a new
beginning to Africa’ s most restive region, which is
long attributed for a deadliest war and the
subsequent two-decade armed standoff between
Ethiopia and Eritrea, terrorism in Somali as well as
blame game among countries for supporting rebels and
"The three leaders reviewed developments and
achievements since the signing of Asmara joint
declaration on friendship and comprehensive
cooperation in September and noted with satisfaction
the tangible and positive outcomes already
registered and agreed to consolidate their mutual
solidarity and support in addressing challenges that
they face individually and collectively," the joint
The three leaders’ latest meeting was a follow up
to the previous discussion, and an eventual peace
accord, that was held in September this year in
Asmara, capital of Eritrea.
During the Asmara tripartite meeting, they had
signed a Joint Declaration Agreement on
Comprehensive Cooperation, which also followed by a
tripartite summit on the enhancement of regional
ties of partnership.
"Sharing close ties of geography, history,
culture, religion and vital common interests the
peoples of Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea need to
further respect each other’s independence,
sovereignty, and territorial integrity," the joint
After decades of hostility and rivalry, a recent
thaw in relations between the three Horn of Africa
nations is considered as a new beginning towards
normalizing diplomatic relations in the troubled
Eritrea and Somalia that have been blaming each
other for supporting rebel and terrorist groups, had
recently commenced diplomatic relations, marking a
new beginning among the two countries.
Recent positive developments between Ethiopia and
Eritrea also came after two decades long bitter
armed standoff since the two countries bloody
two-year border war from 1998-2000, that killed an
estimated 70,000 people from both sides.
After 20 years of hostility, the two countries
resumed diplomatic relations on July 8, when
Ethiopia’s PM Ahmed made a landmark visit to the Red
Sea nation and a week after, Eritrea’s Afwerki paid
a courtesy visit to Ethiopia.
Amid the easing tensions, telecom services
between the two countries have resumed, embassies
resumed diplomatic relations, and agreements were
made to strengthen economic ties.
The two countries’ flag carriers - Ethiopian
Airlines and Eritrean Airlines - have also started
flights to Asmara and Addis Ababa respectively.
Leaders of the two countries, in another bid to
augment their growing ties, had also agreed to
increase the movement and amount of bilateral trade
through Eritrea’s port city of Assab to landlocked
Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.
In addition to diplomatic relations, Ethiopia and
Eritrea are also undertaking steps to strengthen
cultural and people-to-people links between the two
A cultural symposium, which was held last month
here in Addis Ababa, had brought together 500
participants drawn from both countries, including
senior government officials from both countries, who
discussed various issues that include ways to
enhance the cultural and linguistic ties as well as
the need for cultural collaboration between Ethiopia
Peoples of the three countries - who shared
similar socio-cultural traits and language, are also
currently celebrating the normalization of ties
among countries in the region.
With the re-opening of the Ethiopia-Eritrea
border in September in the aftermath of the fast
paced diplomatic rapprochement, Zalambessa and other
Ethiopian entry points are busy serving as a gateway
and meeting point in renewed commercial and cultural
interaction between the two countries.
Fiyori Bizen, an Ethiopian mother of three living
on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s border town of
Zalambessa, is a member of the border community that
are celebrating the new positive diplomatic ties.
Speaking to Xinhua in a recent interview, Bizen
confirmed that her house has transformed from a
shelter to one that is facilitating her new business
of providing coffee drinks to travelers from both
"I have an increasing customer list of drivers,
regular commuters and soldiers from both countries,
ever since my coffee drinks business opened a week
ago," said Bizen.
to launch daily flights to Somalia
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya Airways said Monday it plans to launch direct
flights to Somali capital Mogadishu from Thursday as
part of expansion to the Horn of Africa region.
Sebastian Mikosz, chief executive officer of
Kenya Airways, said the airline will fly seven times
weekly as it seeks to enhance intra-Africa air
connectivity linking cities and facilitating
movement of people, and thereby enhancing social and
economic ties between the countries.
"The addition of this route to our network
demonstrates our commitment to improving
connectivity on the African continent, while
creating new opportunities for corporates investors,
traders and tourists," Mikosz said in a statement
issued in Nairobi.
He said that the daily flight is aimed at meeting
the growing travel demand by Somali travelers,
government and non-government organization officials
and a growing number of entrepreneurs from Kenya and
around the region who are keen on seeking
opportunities in the country.
According to data from the Kenya National Bureau
of Statistics, the Horn of Africa nation is
positioned as one of the largest export markets for
In 2017, exports to Somalia increased by 33.5
percent, which equates to a value of some 10.7
billion Kenyan Shillings (about 107 million U.S.
Mikosz said the flight operated by Jambojet is
scheduled to depart Nairobi at about 7:40 a.m. and
depart Aden Adde International Airport, Mogadishu at
10:45 a.m. to arrive back in Nairobi at 1:00 p.m.
"We want to extend our network reach and make it
convenient for our guests who work and invest in
Somalia," he said.
With the demand for travel by traders to Somalia
through Nairobi increasing, the launch of this route
is expected to ease travel between the two cities
that are the focal points of business in the two
countries and spur commercial activities.