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Ethiopians and Eritreans gathered in Rome to celebrate the news, and at least one brought along a picture of Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed. Photo: Stefano Montesi/Corbis via Getty Images

In a moment that seemed unthinkable just months ago, the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea today declared that they are no longer at war.

The backdrop: The two neighbors and rivals fought a hot war from 1998-2000 which left 80,000 dead, and hostilities remained frozen in place after Ethiopia rejected the ensuing peace deal over a border dispute.

  • Per the BBC, "For the last 20 years, it has been impossible to travel directly from one nation to the other. There have been no flights, the land border was closed, and telephone lines did not work. This raises the possibility that families who have been divided by the conflict could finally be reunited."

Who to watch: Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia's new reform-minded prime minister, who launched the peace talks and is bringing rapid-fire change to his country.

“You don’t want to exaggerate but for Ethiopia, a country where everything has been done in a very prescriptive, slow and managed way, these changes are unprecedented. His main task is to satisfy all expectations of all groups in a huge and diverse country. That’s impossible but he’s trying to do so with some gusto.”
— Ahmed Soliman of Chatham House, to the Guardian

Go deeper

23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.

The next big political war: redistricting

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are preparing a mix of tech and legal strategies to combat expected gerrymandering by Republicans, who are planning to go on legal offense themselves.

Why it matters: Democrats failed to regain a single state legislature on Election Day, while Republicans upped their control to 30 states' Houses and Senates. In the majority of states, legislatures draw new congressional district lines, which can boost a party's candidates for the next decade.

54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of 16 senators, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.

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