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Frozen in time: Inside Eritrea’s embassy

Inside the Eritrean embassy. This and other embassy furniture from twenty years ago has been handed over by the Eritrean leader to his Ethiopian counterpart.

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Kalkidan Yibeltal/BBC

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This furniture was used by the last Eritrean ambassador to Ethiopia two decades ago

Dust-covered furniture, cars and even beer bottles have been revealed as Eritrea officially opens its embassy’s doors in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, for the first time since 1998, when the two countries went to war.

It is part of the ongoing rapprochement between the two countries, who have only recently agreed to restore diplomatic ties, even though the conflict ended in 2000.

These photos were taken inside the embassy by the BBC.

Inside the Eritrean embassy

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Kalkidan Yibeltal/BBC

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These cars have been kept in storage at the embassy compound in Addis Ababa.

Bottles of beer, wine and olive oil in a crate

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Kalkidan Yibeltal/BBC

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These untouched bottles of beer, wine and olive oil have gathered dust in a crate

President Isaias Afwerki at the embassy with his host Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as he raises Eritrea's flag for the first time in 20 years

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Kalkidan Yibeltal/BBC

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President Isaias Afwerki – who was joined at the embassy by his host Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed – raised Eritrea’s flag there for the first time in 20 years…

President Isaias (L) and Prime Minister Abiy (R) talk inside the former embassy

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Kalkidan Yibeltal/BBC

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… members of the press joined President Isaias (L) and Prime Minister Abiy (R) as they looked inside the diplomatic quarters.

Inside the Eritrean embassy

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Kalkidan Yibeltal/BBC

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Staff and building renovators say they do not know who is shown in these photographs – but believe they are family members of former embassy workers.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy (C) handed the key to the embassy to Eritrea's President Isaias

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Kalkidan Yibeltal/BBC

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Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy (C) handed the key to the embassy to Eritrea’s President Isaias (R) as part of the official ceremony.

Band outside the Eritrean embassy

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Kalkidan Yibeltal/BBC

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Fanfare marked the visit of the two leaders to Eritrea’s embassy in Addis Ababa – its doors are to re-open as part of Ethiopia’s ongoing drive to re-establish relations with its neighbour.

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Frozen in time: Inside Eritrea’s embassy

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