Somali president visits Eritrea


Somalia’s president paid a rare visit to Eritrea in a sign Asmara is trying to use the opportunity created by a rapprochement with Ethiopia to improve regional ties.

Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki’s decision to invite President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo marks a new chapter for the countries after years of sour relations.

Discussions will focus on “regional issues of interest to both countries,” Eritrea’s information ministry said.

Previous Somali administrations accused Eritrea of supplying weapons to Islamist insurgents fighting the fragile government in Mogadishu. Eritrea said the accusations were concocted by Ethiopia.

Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a border war between 1998 and 2000 during which thousands died. The war was followed by a military stalemate but in April they signed a peace deal.

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