Eritrea and Ethiopia sign peace agreement in Saudi Arabia overseen by King Salman

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President of Eritrea Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the ceremony in Jeddah. (SPA)
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President of Eritrea Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the ceremony in Jeddah. (SPA)
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President of Eritrea Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the ceremony in Jeddah. (SPA)
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Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed signed the Jeddah Peace Agreement in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki signed the Jeddah Peace Agreement in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Jeddah. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Jeddah. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Jeddah. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hold a press conference in Jeddah. (AN Photo / Huda Bashatah)
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Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hold a press conference in Jeddah. (AN Photo / Huda Bashatah)
Updated 16 September 2018
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Eritrea and Ethiopia sign peace agreement in Saudi Arabia overseen by King Salman

  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the signing as an "historic event"
  • Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said the deal would strengthen security and stability in the wider region

JEDDAH: Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a peace deal on Sunday at a ceremony in Jeddah overseen by King Salman.

The agreement officially ends more than 20 years of war between the two countries.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed signed the agreement after arriving in Jeddah on Saturday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the signing as an "historic event."

“I want to express my deep appreciation to the role played by His Majesty the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (King Salman) and by the government of Saudi Arabia for facilitating this agreement and contributing to bring together the parties,” he said.
The UN chief also paid tribute to “the courage, the vision, and the wisdom of the prime minister of Ethiopia, who had the capacity to overcome the resistance from the past and open a new chapter in the history of his country, and also the way the president of Eritrea responded to his peace initiatives.”
“This means that there is a wind of hope blowing in the Horn of Africa,” he conlcuded.


Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir congratulated King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for bringing the two parties together.

"The Jeddah Peace Agreement signed today before the CTHM is a historic milestone for the peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea and will contribute to strengthening security and stability in the region at large." he said.

King Salman honored the two leaders with the Order of King Abdulaziz.

Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a bitter war from 1998 to 2000 over a border dispute that killed tens of thousands of people.

That conflict followed a war of independence against Ethiopia that led to Eritrea separating in the early 1990s.

The two countries signed an initial agreement in July and on Tuesday reopened land border crossings closed for 20 years.

The signing ceremony was attended by Guterres, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

The ceremony was attended by a number of Eritrean and Ethiopian officials.

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READ MORE: 

Timeline: Agreement in Jeddah ends hostilities between Eritrea and Ethiopia

Photos: Ethiopia and Eritrea sign Jeddah Peace Agreement in Saudi Arabia

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Earlier on Sunday, King Salman received both Afwerki and Ahmed at the Peace Palace in Jeddah.

The Eritrean president and Ethiopian prime minister attended the official reception ceremony, in which the national anthems of the two countries were played, along with the Kingdom’s national anthem.

King Salman also greeted the official delegations accompanying both countries.

King Salman then accompanied Afwerki and Ahmed, to the Royal Reception Hall at the Royal Court, where they shook hands with several Saudi dignitaries and senior officials.

The King also hosted a luncheon for the visiting delegations.

Earlier, the King received the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, in his office at the Peace Palace in Jeddah on Sunday.

During the meeting, they reviewed developments in the international arena and various efforts aimed at achieving world peace and stability.

The meeting was attended by several Saudi officials, including Minister of Interior Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, and the Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the UN Abdullah Al-Maalami.


How Saudi Arabia turned back to the future

Updated 1 min 39 sec ago

How Saudi Arabia turned back to the future

  • When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledged to bring back moderate Islam, he referenced a time before the developments of 1979 halted the Kingdom’s progress

Saudi Arabia was on a roll in the 1970s, enjoying the social and cultural developments that had begun in the previous two decades, and buoyed by the rising price of oil and the Kingdom’s first Development Plan.

But 1979 changed everything. Saudi Arabia took a conservative turn, prompted by two events: the Iranian Revolution in February, which brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power, and the siege by religious extremists of the Grand Mosque in Makkah.  As Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told 2017’s Future Investment Initiative: “We were not like this in the past. We only want to go back to what we were, the moderate Islam that is open to the world, open to all the religions … And quite frankly, we will not waste 30 years of our lives in dealing with extremist ideas … We want to live a normal life, a life that translates our moderate religion, our good customs.”

And that’s what has happened. Under Vision 2030 and a flurry of life-altering developments – movies and concerts, greater freedom for women, fitness in schools, to name just a few – the Kingdom is on a trajectory back to the future.

THEN: 

1955 - Saudi Arabia’s first private school for girls, Dar Al-Hanan, is founded in Jeddah by Princess Effat, with the support of her husband, Crown Prince Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, amid a social outcry. 

1960 - Royal decree approves public education for girls; schools are established in Riyadh, Makkah and other cities.

1962 - The non-profit women’s organization, Al-Nahda, is established by Princess Effat and a number of prominent Saudi women.

1963 

  • The Council of Ministers approves a project to establish television in the Kingdom.
  • The Department of Youth Welfare (previously the Department of Sport) creates four federations: volleyball, basketball, athletic and cycling.

1965 - King Faisal approves the first national television broadcast, a reading of the Qur’an, amid protests from conservatives.

King Faisal (right) and US President Richard Nixon.
  • The first TV broadcast in Saudi Arabia is launched from the US Consulate in Dhahran; “The Eye of the Desert” is broadcast in English and only to the Dhahran area. 

1957

  • The Kingdom’s first institute of higher education, King Saud University, is opened in Riyadh.
  • The launch of Aramco TV, with a wider broadcasting range that reaches Al-Hofuf and other areas across the Gulf. Broadcasts are in both Arabic and English.

1979

IRANIAN REVOLUTION

January 22 - Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and his wife leave Tehran.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

February 1 - Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns to Iran from exile in France.

February 11 - Khomeini officially assumes power when troops loyal to the shah surrender.

February 16 - Iran’s revolutionary authorities start executions of leading supporters of the shah, including four top generals.

November 4 - US embassy in Tehran stormed by Iranian students who take 52 Americans hostage, demanding the extradition of the shah.


SIEGE OF MAKKAH’S GRAND MOSQUE

November 20 - A well-organized group led by Saudi militant Juhayman Al-Otaibi storms the Grand Mosque with weapons smuggled in coffins and vehicles using members pretending to be there to pray. Al-Otaibi is a member of Al-Jamaa Al-Salafiya Al-

Militants arrested after the Makkah Siege of 1979 are escorted to prison. (File photo) 

Muhtasiba (Salafi Group that Commands Right and Forbids Wrong), which is angered by Western social influence, women’s presence in the Saudi workforce, TV and other issues. Worshippers are prevented from leaving after the announcement of a takeover over a microphone. Hostages are forced to pledge allegiance to the group’s leader, Mohammed bin Abduallah Al-Qahtani, Al-Otaibi and their followers.

December 4 - The siege lasts for two weeks and ends after an intervention by Saudi special forces and their allies, leaving hundreds dead, including Saudi officers, soldiers and civilians as well as Al-Qahtani and his followers. Al-Otaibi is arrested and executed on Jan. 9, 1980.


NOW

2016

  • Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveils Vision 2030, a road map for Saudi Arabia’s future.
  • The Saudi Cabinet approves a new law restricting the religious police from questioning, pursuing or arresting violators; they must instead report them to the police or anti-narcotics officers.
  • Princess Reema bint Bandar is appointed vice president for women’s affairs at the General Sports Authwority.
  • Kariman Abuljadayel is the first Saudi woman to compete in the 100-meter event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.
  • The General Authority for Entertainment and the General Sports Authority are established by royal decree.

 

2017

  • King Salman appoints Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince ofSaudi Arabia.
  • The Saudi Stock Exchange appoints a woman, Sarah Al-Suhaimi, as chairperson for the first time.
    King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at work. (SPA file photo)

     

  • In one of the first public music performances in many years, Mohammed Abdo performs for a men-only audience in Jeddah.
  • Giga-projects are launched: NEOM, a $500-billion megacity in theTabuk region, and the RedSea tourism project (right).
  • Saudi state schools announce that they will offer physical education classes for female students.
  • At the inaugural Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledges a return to moderate Islam.

2018

  • Female fans are allowed to attend football matches for the first time in Saudi Arabia; the match was Al-Ahli vs. Al-Batin in Jeddah on Jan. 12. 
  • Ending a 35-year ban on cinemas, the first commercial movie theater opens in Riyadh with a screening of “Black Panther” on April 18.
  • A ban on Saudi women driving is lifted on June 24.
  • An anti-harassment law, approved by the Shoura Council, receives praise from around the world.
  • King Salman launches plans for Qiddiya, expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city.
  • The Culture Ministry, headed by Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al-Saud, is established (right).
  • Al-Ahsa Oasis is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Weam Al-Dakheel becomes the first Saudi woman to anchor the main evening news on Saudi TV.
  • Enrique Iglesias, Amr Diab and the Black Eyed Peas are among the first international performers at the Formula E in Riyadh, for which the first trial tourist visas are granted.
  • The WWE’s Royal Rumble takes place at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, beginning a 10-year partnership with the General Sports Authority.

2019

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launches a mega tourism project in AlUla which will include a resort designed by renowned French architect Jean Nouvel and a nature reserve dubbed Sharaan.

     

  • Lubna Al-Olayan becomes the first Saudi chairwoman to run a Saudi bank, a merger between Alawwal and Saudi British Bank.
  • Saudi Arabia’s first female ambassador, Princess Reema bint Bandar (top center), is appointed to Washington.
  • The Saudi Cabinet approves a “Privileged Iqama residency permit,” which will allow foreign nationals to work and live in Saudi Arabia without a sponsor, offered to highly skilled expatriates and owners of capital funds.
  • By royal decree, Saudi women no longer require permission from a male guardian to travel or obtain a passport.
  • A lineup of superstars perform in concerts across the Kingdom: Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and 50 Cent in Jeddah; Andrea Bocelli in AlUla (below); Pitbull and Akon in the Eastern Province.
  • High-profile sports events include the Italian Super Cup between Juventus and AC Milan; Fight Night between world boxing champion Amir Khan (left)and Billy Dib; and the largest Battle Royale in WWE history.