September 16, 2018 / 5:09 PM / 6 days ago

Ethiopian, Eritrean leaders sign peace agreement in Jeddah

JEDDAH (Reuters) - Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki signed a peace agreement in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, the second peace deal reached since July between the once warring African countries.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (C), Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (R) and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki pose for the camera during the ceremony to sign a peace agreement in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia September 16, 2018. Saudi News Agency/Handout via REUTERS

The Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders signed a “joint declaration of peace and friendship” on July 9, normalizing ties between the longtime foes who waged war against each other between 1998 and 2000.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (R) and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki during the ceremony to sign a peace agreement in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia September 16, 2018. Saudi News Agency/Handout via REUTERS

Further details of Sunday’s peace agreement signed in the Red Sea city of Jeddah and announced in a statement by the Saudi government were not immediately available.

The agreement “will contribute to strengthening security and stability in the region at large,” said Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Twitter.

Abiy and Afwerki signed the agreement in the presence of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

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The Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders “expressed their appreciation” to King Salman and the crown prince for their support of the peace deal, the statement said.

It is not clear what role, if any, Saudi Arabia played in brokering the peace agreement reached two months ago.

Gulf neighbor the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has said it helped bring the countries together. Reuters has reported that the UAE has privately taken credit for the deal.

The Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders traveled to the UAE weeks after signing the historic July agreement to jointly meet with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

Writing by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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