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Eritrea, Djibouti agree to normalize diplomatic relations

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — East African neighbors Eritrea and Djibouti have agreed to normalize relations after years of diplomatic stalemate.

Ethiopia’s foreign minister, Workneh Gebeyehu, calls the decision “a historic diplomatic achievement” in a Facebook post. The announcement came after an Ethiopia-led mediation effort.

“(Djibouti’s) President Omar Guelleh stated that Djibouti is ready for reconciliation,” Eritrea’s information minister, Yemane Gebremeskel, said on Twitter.

Eritrea and Djibouti have a border dispute extending back to 2008. Eritrea has long accused Ethiopia of supporting Djibouti in the dispute, and things escalated in June 2017 when Qatari peacekeeping troops left a mountainous area and Djibouti accused Eritrean troops of occupying it.

The region has recently seen a number of diplomatic thaws also involving Somalia since Ethiopia’s reformist new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea’s longtime president made peace.