In this grab taken from video provided by ERITV, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, centre right is welcomed by Erirea's President Isaias Afwerki as he disembarks the plane, in Asmara, Eritrea, Sunday, July 8, 2018. With laughter and hugs, the leaders of longtime rivals Ethiopia and Eritrea met for the first time in nearly two decades Sunday amid a rapid and dramatic diplomatic thaw aimed at ending one of Africa's longest-running conflicts. (ERITV via AP)

Ethiopia, Eritrea restore diplomatic relations, phone calls

July 09, 2018 - 7:24 am

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders formally restored relations Monday, ending 20 years of enmity, and citizens from both counties immediately began phoning each other to get back in touch.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, 42, and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, 72, also signed agreements to open embassies in their respective capitals, restore flight services and use port facilities in Eritrea. The signing took place in Eritrea's capital, Asmara, before Abiy flew back to Ethiopia.

Many Ethiopians expressed their exhilaration on social media and changed their profile pictures to a photo of the Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders embracing, taken on Sunday.

Ethiopia's reformist prime minister flew to Eritrea on Sunday was welcomed with hugs and laughter by Afwerki, a joyous scene unthinkable just months ago.

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