July 4, 2018 / 8:03 AM / 4 months ago

CORRECTED-Eritrea's president visits Abu Dhabi crown prince

(Corrects day of meeting to Tuesday (not Monday) in second paragraph)

DUBAI, July 4 (Reuters) - Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki has made a rare trip abroad, meeting Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The UAE operates a military base in Eritrea that it uses for its campaign in Yemen’s war and the leaders discussed how to strengthen ties, according to statements from both countries released after Tuesday’s meeting.

A new prime minister took office in April in Ethiopia, Eritrea’s neighbour, and his reforms have shaken up regional politics.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has announced plans to liberalize the state-dominated economy and pledged to honour the terms of a 2000 peace deal with Eritrea.

Last week, Eritrea and Ethiopia said they had “opened the door of peace” after the first high-level visit from Asmara to Addis Ababa in nearly two decades.

That meeting raised hopes for an end to one of Africa’s most intractable military stand-offs.

Ethiopia also has growing ties to UAE, which last month pledged $3 billion in aid and investments. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell in Dubai Writing by Maggie Fick Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

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