Ethiopia to Withdraw Troops from Border

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PM Abiy said complete demilitarisation of Eritrea, Ethiopia border to start as of today


Ethiopian and Eritrean troops stationed on both sides of the shared border are ordered to withdraw and move back to camps, shortly after the countries officially opened the borders following two decades of tensions.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told reporters upon return to Addis Ababa from Eritrea that to ease the tense atmosphere that existed in border areas for nearly 20 years, Ethiopian Defense Forces will return to their camps.

“As of today, Ethiopia’s defense forces (along with the border with Eritrea) will be gathered to camps. The same will be done from the Eritrean side.”

PM Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki marked the Ethiopian new year on Tuesday by opening two border posts for the first time in 20 years while emotional people embraced after the long separation.

“We heralded the new year by demolishing the trenches along our border,” Abiy told reporters.

Eritrean Information Minister Yemane G/Meskel in a post on Twitter says Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have opened the border point at Bure for “road transport connectivity” and later will conduct a similar ceremony at the Serha-Zalambesa crossing.

The leaders have been celebrating their recent diplomatic thaw by marking the Ethiopian new year at their border.

The once-bitter rivals in recent weeks have restored diplomatic and other ties shortly after Abiy taking office and announced that Ethiopia would fully embrace a peace deal that ended a 1998-2000 border war.

* AP and Reuters contributed to the story