File photo shows a high-level Eritrean delegation arrive at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, June 26, 2018. Ethiopia on Tuesday received a high-level Eritrean delegation for the first time since the two countries fought a bloody two-year border war from 1998-2000. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)
ADDIS ABABA, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia and Eritrea have agreed to resume air services and for landlocked Ethiopia to use Eritrean ports for its growing foreign trade, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Sunday.
Ahmed made the statement hours after he landed in Eritrea. In a live statement from the Eritrean Presidential Palace in Asmara broadcast by state media in Eritrea and Ethiopia, Ahmed said the air services and port usage agreement aim to create a people-to-people ties between the two countries.
Ahmed also said he has agreed with his Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki to reopen each other's diplomatic missions in their respective countries.
In June Ethiopia received a high-level Eritrean delegation led by Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Salah, the first high level Eritrean delegation to visit Ethiopia in 20 years.
The Eritrean delegation came to Ethiopia after Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki declared that his country would send a team to Ethiopia to assess a recent Ethiopia peace offer.
File photo shows Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (C) welcomes Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Salah (2nd R, front) at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, June 26, 2018. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)
On June 5, the Executive Committee of the ruling party, the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) passed decision expressing Ethiopia's commitment to an unconditional implementation of Algiers peace agreement with Eritrea.
The peace agreement ended the two-year border war, but a tense armed standoff continued, with the two countries engaging in skirmishes occasionally.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) hailed on Sunday the historic meeting of Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders after 20 years of hostility.
In a press statement, IGAD Executive Secretary Mahboub Maalim said the normalization of bilateral ties would benefit the peoples of the two countries and would contribute to the realization of the shared aspiration of peace and integration in the East African region and the African continent.
Ethiopia and Eritrea are members of the eight-country trade bloc whose mission is to economically integrate the East African region.