Eritrea’s president announced Wednesday he is sending a rare delegation to neighboring Ethiopia for peace talks, days after Ethiopia’s new prime minister took a major step toward calming deadly tensions with its decades-long rival. This is the first such delegation since 1998, when a border war erupted between the countries and they cut off diplomatic relations. Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki noted “positive signals” in recent days from Ethiopia and said the delegation will “gauge current developments directly and in depth” to plan future steps. Ethiopia early this month made the surprise announcement that it will fully accept the terms of a peace agreement with Eritrea signed in 2000 to end the two-year border war that killed tens of thousands. The countries have skirmished a number of times since then. Ethiopia had refused to accept the deal’s handing to Eritrea of key locations, including the town of Badme, which it still holds. The decision to fully accept the peace deal was the biggest reform yet announced by Ethiopia’s young new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who once fought in Badme. “The suffering on both sides is unspeakable because the peace process is deadlocked.
South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar has accepted an invitation from the Ethiopian Prime Minister to talks with South Sudanese president Salva Kiir in Addis Ababa next week, a spokesman for Machar said on Wednesday. The meeting would be the first time that Kiir and Machar, the former vice president of South Sudan, have met since a peace deal between the government and Machar’s rebel group fell apart in August 2016.Tens of thousand of people have died in the civil war that broke out in late 2013 when troops loyal to Machar launched a rebellion against the government.
Madagascar’s president said on Monday he had appointed the country’s local representative of the International Labour Organisation, Christian Ntsay, as the new prime minister. Former Prime Minister Olivier Mahafaly resigns his post earlier on Monday to comply with the terms of a court ruling that ordered the formation of a new consensus government to end a political crisis on the Indian Ocean island nation. Last month, president Hery Rajaonarimampianina approved an election law under which the main opposition candidate, Marc Ravalomanana, could run for office. An earlier version of the law had sparked deadly street protests. The High Constitutional Court ordered Rajaonarimampianina to dissolve his government and appoint a new prime minister with the support of all political parties.