The Latest: Ethiopia, Eritrea to withdraw border troops

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The Latest on Ethiopia and Eritrea’s diplomatic thaw (all times local):

6:05 p.m.

Ethiopia’s leader says troops on both sides will withdraw from the border with Eritrea, shortly after the countries officially opened the border following two decades of tensions.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in comments carried by the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate says that “to ease the tense atmosphere that existed in border areas, Ethiopian Defense Forces will return to various camps to recover and obtain additional training. The same will be done on the Eritrean side.”

Abiy and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki marked the Ethiopian new year on Tuesday by opening two border posts while emotional people embraced after the long separation.

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

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11:40 a.m.

Eritrea says the border between it and former rival Ethiopia has officially opened after two decades.

Information Minister Yemane 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 two have made a dramatic reconciliation since Abiy shortly after taking office announced that Ethiopia would fully embrace a peace deal that ended a bloody 1998-2000 border war.

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10:30 a.m.

The leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea are celebrating their recent diplomatic thaw by marking the new year at their border.

The chief of staff for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says in a Twitter post that Abiy and longtime Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki are visiting the Bure Front along with members of their militaries.

The former bitter rivals have made a dramatic reconciliation since Abiy shortly after taking office announced that Ethiopia would fully embrace a peace deal that ended a bloody 1998-2000 border war.

Embassies have reopened, telephone lines have been restored and commercial flights between the capitals have resumed.

Abiy on Monday said that “as of today, Ethiopian and Eritrean people will prosper together and march in unison. … The last five months have brought hope and reconciliation.”

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