Sisi welcomes fleeing Ethiopians upon their arrival at Cairo airport on May 7, 2015 (Photo: State TV)
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Thursday personally received the first batch of Ethiopian workers to return from Libya through Egypt at Cairo International Airport.
“Egypt was worried about our Ethiopian brothers after the criminal slaying [of Ethiopian workers] that took place a few days ago, and what we wanted most is for our Ethiopian brothers to return home safely”, El- Sisi said as he met the 27 workers at the capital's airport.
Up to 30 Christian Ethiopian workers were killed by the armed Islamic State group in April.
Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom met the Egyptian president in Cairo earlier this week to discuss facilitating the return of Ethiopian workers willing to leave Libya.
The 27 Ethiopian workers, all Christian, had been detained in Libya and were released after intense negotiations with different forces on the ground, a military source told Ahram Arabic news website, denying that "any military intervention had taken place”.
“Ethiopia will continue its efforts to facilitate the return of Ethiopians from Libya,” Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom said on his official website a day earlier.
On 7 May, 13 Ethiopians arrived in Khartoum in the first successful evacuation of more than 300 Ethiopian workers who registered to leave the troubled country through coordination between Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and the Libyan government.
Ethiopia does not share any borders with the crisis-hit north African country, but many workers travel illegally to Libya, through Egyptian or Tunisian borders looking for a job.
The relationship between Cairo and Addis Ababa has greatly improved in the last couple of years due to a change in Egyptian diplomacy that now prefers to consolidate ties with Ethiopia. Relations between both countries were tense, especially after Ethiopia started building the Renaissance Dam on the Nile river.