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

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.


A catering firm in Saudi Arabia tackles obesity from school level

Updated 19 October 2019

A catering firm in Saudi Arabia tackles obesity from school level

  • Rihab Hasanain set up Blooming Bs to provide schoolchildren with healthy meals
  • Blooming Bs strives to raise awareness of the obesity problem in the Kingdom

CAIRO: One Saudi woman was so concerned about her children’s unhealthy school-canteen meals that she decided to improve not only her family’s diet but also the eating habits of the entire nation.

Rihab Hasanain, spurred by the Kingdom’s growing obesity epidemic, set up the catering firm Blooming Bs to provide children with healthy lunch boxes and offer them advice on the importance of eating healthy food and being active.

The company’s name originates from the three Bs: Brain, body and box. The healthy boxes are provided to students and children aged two and above at schools, canteens, childcare centers and indoor playground centers.

Saudi Arabia has the Middle East’s second-highest obesity level after Kuwait with a 35.4 percent rating,  according to the CIA World Factbook.

Hasanain said that she wants to raise awareness of the region’s obesity problem, particularly among children.

“Childhood obesity is one of the greatest challenges facing health care systems worldwide,” she said.

“A number of factors have contributed to the problem, such as lack of childhood physical activities, and a low awareness around the prevalence of obesity and non-communicable diseases.”

Hasanain said that Blooming Bs’ mission is to combat childhood obesity in Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries by promoting healthy eating habits.

Rihab Hasanain

This includes educating children and parents about the importance of healthy food and lifestyles, providing youngsters with healthy food choices, and creating a community of future healthy eaters.

In Saudi Arabia, a major contributing factor to the obesity crisis is the widespread availability of unhealthy food in school canteens, she said.

In 2016, the ambitious mother of two took matters into her own hands by establishing her commercial kitchen in the Kingdom’s capital Riyadh.

Using her personal savings, Hasanain hired a team of 10 multidisciplinary women, including public relations and administration staff, social-work specialists, early childhood educators and drivers.

She also leveraged her international connections to help secure support and endorsement from a number of prominent mentors.

“They are extraordinary individuals with an outstanding track record in social entrepreneurship, hospitality and, most importantly, health promotion and healthy school canteens,” Hasanain said.

Blooming Bs has since grown to cater to more than 20 day-care units and schools, as well as hundreds of individual families. The firm has now sold more than 45,000 items and served over 10,000 lunch meals since its launch.

Hasanain said that the company’s contracts and deliveries vary according to customer categories.

“Our products range from morning, lunch and afternoon meals for children to freshly squeezed juices and individual food items that can be sold individually at school canteens,” she said.

“We take the stress away for parents. Our clients are assured that our products are healthy because the meals are created based on the consultation of our in-house nutritionist.”

While Hasanain is well on her way to transforming the diets of children in Riyadh, she has her eye on the bigger picture.

The Blooming Bs entrepreneur also aims to solve childhood obesity in neighboring countries, such as the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar.

“During Blooming Bs’ expansion, I have tried to develop a holistic viewpoint on children’s nutrition, leading to improved operation processes and ideas,” Hasanain said.

“Blooming Bs also wants to empower Saudi and Arab women by creating more job opportunities,” she added.

“Ultimately, I see my company becoming an upscale international brand, trusted by parents, schools and governments.”

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• This report is being published by Arab News as a partner of the Middle East Exchange, which was launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region.