(The National) : Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki have been honoured with the Order of Zayed as the former rivals met in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, conferred the UAE’s highest civil honour at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi in the presence of sheikhs, ambassadors and dignitaries.

It followed a remarkable détente between the two African nations following years of conflict. Earlier this month, Ethiopia and Eritrea formally reestablished diplomatic relations and signed a declaration of peace and friendship in the Eritrean capital Asmara.

The thaw was welcomed across the globe from the United Nations to the UAE. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said the move represents great political wisdom.

“The UAE supports sound international relations that seek to promote peace and prosperity, with respect for international law,” he said.

“The UAE congratulates Ethiopia and Eritrea on this historic agreement, and hopes that this move will open further opportunities and development across economic, cultural and social sectors between the two nations.”

In June Abu Dhabi pledged Dh11 billion in assistance to Ethiopia during a visit by Sheikh Mohammed. Mr Afwerki met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Monday in Riyadh.


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