Addis Ababa — Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki raised hope for a breakthrough in one of Africa’s most intractable conflicts on Wednesday, when he described recent peace overtures from archenemy Ethiopia as "positive signals". Speaking at a Martyrs’ Day event in the capital, Asmara, Isaias said he would send a delegation to Addis Ababa to understand the position of new Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and "chart out a plan". It was the first response from Eritrea, one of Africa’s most closed and authoritarian states, to Abiy’s shock pledge this month to honour all the terms of a peace deal that ended a 1998-2000 war between the Horn of Africa neighbours. Adding to the positive mood, Abiy’s chief of staff said the prime minister welcomed Isaias’s statement and promised the Eritrean delegation would be welcomed "warmly and with considerable goodwill". The war drew comparisons to the First World War, with waves of soldiers forced to march through minefields towards Eritrean trenches...

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