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Eritrean president arrives in Somalia for historic first visit

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Eritrea's longtime president, Isaias Afwerki arrived in Somalia for his first visit to the Horn of Africa on Thursday amid a dramatic diplomatic thaw between the once-bitter rivals, Garowe Online reports.

Hundreds turned out in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, under tight security to welcome President Isaias Afwerki, whose two-day visit is the latest step in ending the rift and boosting up the bilateral relations.

Eritrean President, along with his entourage was received by Somalia's president, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, Ministers, lawmakers and other high-ranking government officials at Mogadishu's Aden Adde airport.

Mogadishu was put under security lockdown on Thursday with hundreds of police forces have been deployed all the main roads in the seaside city ahead of Afwerki's arrival.

"It is a great honor to welcome President Isaias Afwerki to Mogadishu today on this historic visit. Somalia and Eritrea have a historic bond of friendship which we will transform into modern opportunities for our two brotherly peoples," said Villa Somalia in a Twitter post.

The two leaders are set to hold bilateral talks at the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu. Afwerki's historic visit came after he received an invitation from his Somali counterpart.

Last August, Farmajo had paid a historic three-day visit to Asmara, where the two Horn of Africa nations agreed to restore diplomatic relations after nearly 15 years of conflict.

Djibouti expressed displeasure with President Farmajo's calls for the lifting of the United Nations sanctions on Eritrea during his trip to Asmara and summoned its ambassador in Mogadishu afterward.

Relations returned to normal after Farmajo visited Djibouti and held bilateral talks with Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh.

Historically, Djibouti and Somalia have maintained close relations. In addition to sharing a border, the two nation’s are predominately made up of ethnic Somalis.


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