Eritreans Fly to Addis Joyfully to Meet Families, Relatives after Two Decades

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Addis Ababa July 19/2018 On its return flight from Asmara, Ethiopian Airlines brought to Addis Ababa 97 Eritreans who shared their delight with Ethiopian News Agency yesterday.

The Boeing 787-9 airplane landed with overjoyed passengers in euphoric mood at the prospect of meeting families and relatives separated for 20 years.

At the reception ceremony organized by Immigration and Nationality Affairs Office at Bole International Airport, the Eritrean lady Alganesh Goitom, who was deported from Ethiopia with a seven months old baby leaving behind her husband and three children 20 years ago, said “I have no words to express my happiness and appreciation for both leaders” for their courage and commitment to open the closed door.

“How can I explain my suffering during the past twenty years? I have no words to sufficiently admire Prime Minister Abiy. …I am even ready to surrender my life for him. I consider him an Angel of Peace!” she said joyfully.

Alganesh did not marry another man in the decades. “God helped me to bring up my daughter alone, and He gave me the patience and courage to wait for these 20 years to see this bright day.”

Captain Naod Gebreamlak of the British Marine Corporation Service PLC said he is delighted by the resumption of peace relations and flight after two decades.

Captain Naod came to Ethiopia to meet relatives he longed to see. “I never expected that the conflict will be resolved like this in my life time. So, I decided to visit Ethiopia with my wife following the peace agreement between the leaders.”

He noted that the first benefit of peace for both countries is relief because there will be no more worry about war. Next, “cooperation for development is crucial.”

The 79 years old Eritrean Priest, Eyob Fisaha, said “we have been praying for peace. We all need peace and security and preach for it.”

The curses put on us for such a long period are now gone and “God has let us learn that hatred and conflict breed only poverty.”

The priest added: “We will continue singing and preaching for peace and love in our country because we have learned what conflict causes.”

The Eritrean who anticipated meeting his 91 years old Ethiopian mother after 20 years, Tewolde Asgedom described the peace agreement “unexpected and overwhelming.”

According to him, Eritreans are overjoyed that peace has arrived at last. He appreciated the commitment of the leaders for negotiating without the involvement of third party, saying “a secret of two is buried under ground” and no one could discover it.

“Congratulations to you for electing a Prime Minister who writes with a green inked pen, contrary to those who have been writing with red pen,” he added half-jokingly.

Samson Mihetsun from Asmara, who felt ecstatic in his first flight to Ethiopia, said “I regret the wasted 20 years. Even 20 minute should not have been wasted.”

Peace paves numerous economic advantages like sharing technology and flight resumption that minimizes transits, time and cost, especially for Eritrean Diasporas, he added.

Flights between the countries had been discontinued due to the conflict from May 06, 1998.  Ethiopian Airlines resumed direct flight to Asmara on 18 May 2018 to foster people-to-people ties and boost economic activities between the sisterly countries.