Ethiopia and Eritrea resumed diplomatic relations on June 18 last year after 20 years of hostility, with Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed making a landmark visit to Eritrea and Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki visiting Ethiopia. Despite fighting a bloody two-year border war from 1998-2000, the peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea share numerous complementarities in terms of culture, history and livelihood. Indeed, the people of the two countries are basically one people living in two countries on the ground. It was in line with this that an Eritrean Public and Cultural Diplomacy Delegation arrived in Addis Ababa on Thursday last week (February 14).
On arrival at Bole International Airport, the delegation was warmly welcomed by the Ethiopian Ambassador to Eritrea, Ambassador Redwan Hussien, Eritrea’s Ambassador to the African Union, Ambassador Araya Desta, Head of the Addis Ababa Culture and Tourism Bureau, Professor Nebiyu Baye, and the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nebiat Getachew, as well as dozens of members of the Ethiopian Public Diplomacy team.
The Eritrean Public and Cultural Diplomacy team, composed of over sixty Eritreans from different cultural, professional and other walks of life, came to further strengthen historic relations and people-to-people ties between the two sisterly countries. They provided cultural and musical concerts, under the theme of the “Grand Musical Concert to Celebrate the Peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea”; celebrate and strengthen peace between the two countries in Bahir Dar, Adama and Hawassa and as a finale at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa on Thursday (February 21). In these cities, the Eritrean cultural and musical groups, performed their concerts and held meetings and discussions with their Ethiopian counterparts to further deepen people-to –people links, relating to different federal and regional government officials and community representatives at all the venues.
Indeed, the Eritrean Public Diplomacy Delegation delivered a very clear message from the people of Eritrea to the people of Ethiopia. The two countries have a long-time relationship and the people of Eritrea are committed to raise the people-to-people relations to a higher level. In addition, they underlined that the people of Eritrea are committed to the mutual growth of both peoples, and they would like to have an even closer and stronger relationship with the people of Ethiopia.
The closing ceremony of the Eritrean Public and Cultural Diplomacy delegation’s visit took place at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa on Thursday (February 21). The event had been graced by Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, his Eritrean counterpart Osman Saleh, Special Advisor to the President of Eritrea, Yemane Gebreab, Ethiopia’s Minister for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Hirut Kassaw, Deputy Mayor of the Addis Ababa City Administration, Engineer Takele Uma, Addis-based ambassadors, members of the international community and diplomatic corps invited guests and residents of Addis Ababa.
The visit of the delegation was particularly timely as it would have a positive impact in building on the positive momentum launched by the leaders of the two countries. And last but not least the “Grand Musical Concert to Celebrate the Peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea” and the Eritrean Public Diplomacy and Cultural Team visit had visibly strengthened the long-standing and historic relations and people-to-people ties between two sisterly nations.