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Ethiopia-Eritrea thaw continues with plans for soccer game

July 24, 2018

FILE - In this Wednesday, June 20, 2018, file photo, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Fitsum Arega the chief of staff for Prime Minister Ahmed, announced on Twitter, Sunday July 22, 2018, that Ahmed says the country has "no option" but to pursue multi-party democracy in the latest shakeup in a country ruled for decades by a single coalition.(AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, File)

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia and Eritrea will meet in a football friendly next month, another move marking the swift end to their 20-year state of war.

Ethiopia’s state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported the game will take place in late August in the Eritrean capital Asmara.

The match will be the first between the East African nations in more than two decades. It comes amid a surprising and sudden diplomatic thaw between two countries that fought a border war from 1998 to 2000 that killed tens of thousands.

The first step to ending one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts came last month when Ethiopia’s reformist new prime minister fully accepted a peace deal that ended the border conflict.

Since then, the leaders of the countries have visited the other and agreed to reopen embassies. Commercial flights between the two have restarted.

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