"The normalisation of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea and the resolution of the border issue will undoubtedly benefit the people of the two countries."
IGAD has commended Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed (pictured) for committing to restoring ties with Eritrea. (File photo/AFP)
The executive secretary of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has hailed the historic efforts towards the restoration of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The two nations have not had warm relations in a very long time.
Amb (Eng) Mahboub Maalim, in a statement, particularly commended Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for his "wise and courageous leadership in committing to fully implement the Algiers Agreement and normalising relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea”.
On Sunday, Ahmed became the first Ethiopian leader to visit Eritrea in over two decades.
“The normalisation of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea and the resolution of the border issue will undoubtedly benefit the people of the two countries," he said.
Maalim added that it would also "contribute to the realisation of our shared aspiration of peace and economic integration of our region and indeed the continent of Africa".
The IGAD official's message said further: "We therefore wish to reiterate our continued support for the ongoing bilateral developments and encourage you to maintain the positive momentum towards peace.
"As you pursue your policy of peace in the region and rapprochement towards Eritrea, we also look forward to Eritrea rejoining the IGAD family and taking its rightful place of collectively advancing peace and development in our region.”
Xinhua reports that Ethiopia and Eritrea started "tentative steps to end a two-decades-old bitter border dispute that led to a bloody war from 1998 to 2000 which left an estimated 70,000 people dead from both sides".
Ethiopia and Eritrea are part of IGAD, an eight-country trade bloc whose mission is to economically integrate the East African region.
The other member states are Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Sudan and South Sudan.