Eritrea closes border crossings to Ethiopian travelers


ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Eritrea has partially closed two border crossings with Ethiopia that opened this year after the former East African rivals made peace and restored relations, an Ethiopian official said Friday.

Thousands of people have crossed the border that had been closed for two decades, with traders pursuing brisk business and families reuniting after years apart. The crossings opened with fanfare in September as both countries said they would remove their troops.

It was not clear why Eritrea closed the crossings to Ethiopians, spokeswoman Liya Kassa with Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region told The Associated Press. She said Eritreans were still crossing freely.

The Zalambessa and Rama crossings were closed as of Wednesday morning and preliminary information “indicates it was closed from the Eritrean side,” she said.

Eritrean border officials are now asking Ethiopian travelers to provide a travel document issued by federal authorities, she said. “We have communicated the issue with the federal government and we were told they don’t have any information about it,” she added. “Only Ethiopians are facing the restrictions.”

Hollywood Star's Wife Played Key Role in International Criminal Court's Arrest Warrant for Israeli Leaders

Eritrean officials were not immediately available for comment.

Ethiopia’s foreign ministry spokesman on Thursday told reporters he had no information about the new border restrictions. Photos posted on social media show stranded buses and trucks at the two crossings.

Abraham Gedamu, an Ethiopian traveler who went to Zalambessa to cross into Eritrea for a religious event, said he was denied entry on Thursday morning.

“They said I have to wait because they are drawing up a new travel directive. Several hundred others are facing the same issue,” he told the AP by phone.

Ethiopia and Eritrea restored relations in June after Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, assumed power in April and fully accepted a peace deal ending a bloody border war from 1998 to 2000. Dramatic changes followed, with Abiy and longtime Eritrea President Isaias Afwerki visiting each other’s capitals and embracing while phone lines opened and air links resumed.

The international community welcomed the new peace that has led to further diplomatic breakthroughs in the often turbulent Horn of Africa region. In November, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to lift sanctions against Eritrea after nearly a decade.

“Eritrea recognizes that a more difficult and complex task is waiting ahead,” Eritrea’s Charge d’Affaires Amanuel Giorgio said after the council’s vote. “It is determined to redouble its own efforts and work closely with its neighbors to build a region at peace with itself.”


Follow Africa news at

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City