First visit to Somalia by Eritrean president


Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki is in Somalia for his first-ever visit, Eritrea’s information minister said, another sign of rapidly changing relations in the region following Eritrea’s rapprochement with one-time foe Ethiopia.

He landed in Mogadishu and headed to the Somali president’s office, Reuters witnesses said. Security was tight in the capital, they said.

“President Isaias’s historic visit is part and parcel of the consultative Tripartite Summits of the Heads of State and Government of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia,” Yemane Meskel said on Twitter.

The three countries have been mending asometime fraught relationship since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April.

In July, Somalia and Eritrea said they planned to establish diplomatic relations as ties improved across the Horn of Africa following Eritrea’s rapprochement with Ethiopia.

Past Somali administrations accused Eritrea of supplying weapons to anti-government Islamist insurgents. Asmara repeatedly denied this, saying accusations were concocted by its enemy, Ethiopia.

In 2007, Eritrea walked out of the East African bloc IGAD in protest as Ethiopian forces entered Somalia to fight militants.