Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia leaders to meet in Asmara

Ethiopian, Eritrean and Somalia leaders are set to meet in Eritrea's capital Asmara, furthering the diplomatic thaw in the strategic Horn of Africa region.

By bringing together the leaders of former arch-foes in a summit on Wednesday, Eritrea is building newly friendly relations with neighbours Ethiopia and Somalia.

Ethiopia's Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed arrived at Eritrea's in Assab port for a two-day working visit in Eritrea, said Eritrea's Minister of Information, Yemane Gebremeskel. He tweeted that Ethiopia's leader and Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki will hold "extensive discussions" to follow up on an agreement signed by the two countries in July.

He later tweeted that Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed will arrive in Asmara later on Wednesday for a tripartite summit.

Ethiopian state affiliated media outlets reported Abiy visited the Assab port. Later on Wednesday, an Ethiopian merchant ship is expected to dock in Assab, the first Ethiopian vessel there since a bloody border war broke out 20 years ago in which tens of thousands were killed.

Ethiopia is looking at the possible use of Assab port, following the two decades of antagonistic relations between the two countries that forced it to rely almost exclusively on the more distant port of Djibouti.

Ethiopia's reformist leader Abiy since coming to power in April has succeeded in forging newly friendly relations with Eritrea. The leaders of the two countries have since visited each other's capitals in recent weeks and opened to the public the formerly heavily militarised border areas. Ethiopia must still withdraw troops from contested locations including the flashpoint border town of Badme.

Also in July, Somalia's president visited Eritrea, developing a new friendship, following tensions over Eritrea's alleged support for Somalia's extremist rebel group, al-Shabaab.

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