ARTA (Halbeeg News) – Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki is expected to pay a historic visit to his country’s arch-enemy Djibouti soon amid ongoing efforts to end hostilities in the region.
In an exclusive interview with Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, Djibouti’s foreign minister, Mahamoud Ali Youssouf said welcomes the plan by Eritrean President Isaias to visit the tiny horn of African nation.
The visit will raise hopes of a breakthrough in one of Africa’s most intractable military stand-offs in the region.
“We don’t have a date yet, but the two presidents will exchange visits soon,” Youssouf said. “Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is launching initiatives that create a conducive environment for the reconciliation, and he broadened the scope of the stability and prospect for peace in the region.”
Youssouf commended the efforts of Ethiopian Prime minister, Abiy Ahmed to resolve the Eritrea-Djibouti impasse.
“This has to be acknowledged and recognised [because] the prime minister has been instrumental in the new momentum,” the minister stated, “The two presidents met in September, and I met my Eritrean counterpart. We will build on that momentum. Confidence should be built.”
The border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea was perennial, starting from the colonial days when the former was under French administration while the latter under the Italians.
They have argued over ownership of the area called Ras Doumeira since the 1900s.
In June 2008, the two countries fought a three-day war after Djibouti claimed that Eritrean forces dug trenches on its side of the border.
Their long cold war has hindered economic development, frozen political relations and helped justify domestic repression.