The delegation came after Abiy, Ethiopia's new, reformist leader, surprised his country earlier this month by stating that he fully accepts a peace deal from 2000 that ended the border war with Eritrea that killed tens of thousands of people. Although outright fighting has stopped, the peace agreement has not been implemented and relations between the two countries have remained tense. Ethiopia and Eritrea have not opened diplomatic relations and their forces have engaged in skirmishes a number of times in recent years.
Having gotten rid of international sanctions, the Eritrean regime is unlikely to change its repressive ways at home. On November 14, the United Nations Security Council unanimously agreed to lift the sanctions it had imposed on Eritrea with Resolution 1907. The measure, which included an international arms embargo, travel bans and the freezing of assets of high-profile Eritrean officials, had been in effect since 2009, when the UN accused Eritrea of supporting armed groups in Somalia - something the regime in Asmara always denied. East African nations and the international community welcomed the UNSC's decision, which came on the back of a landmark peace deal between Eritrea and Ethiopia. While the withdrawal of sanctions is a major diplomatic win for Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, it is unlikely to change much for ordinary Eritreans.