ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Official rivals just weeks ago, the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea embraced warmly to the roar of a crowd of thousands Sunday at a concert celebrating the end of a long state of war.

A visibly moved Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, clasping his hands over his heart, addressed the crowd in Ethiopia’s official language, Amharic, on his first visit to the country in 22 years.

“Hate, discrimination and conspiracy is now over,” the 72-year-old Isaias said to cheers and people chanting his name. “Our focus from now on should be on developing and growing together. We are ready to move forward with you as one. No one can steal the love we have regained now. Now is the time to make up for the lost times.”

The Eritrean leader repeatedly praised the “able leadership” of Ethiopia’s reformist new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who in his own speech thanked Isaias for his “courageous gesture” in accepting the offer of peace.

The concert highlighted the end of hostilities between the arch-foes in East Africa, who fought a bloody border war from 1998 to 2000 that killed tens of thousands and left families separated.

The antagonism ended last month when Abiy announced that Ethiopia was fully accepting a peace deal originally signed in 2000 and Eritrea swiftly responded.

“The reconciliation we are forging now is an example to people across Africa and beyond,” the 42-year-old Abiy said.

Jubilant Ethiopians, some of whom have compared the dramatic developments to the fall of the Berlin Wall, found themselves putting aside the World Cup final to watch live coverage of the concert.

A young child holds Ethiopian and Eritrean flags at an event in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sunday.

Isaias arrived in Ethiopia on Saturday, reciprocating the Ethiopian leader’s trip to Eritrea last weekend that led to the restoration of diplomatic, telephone and transport ties. He was greeted by Abiy in a red-carpet welcome, with people dancing at the airport and thousands of residents of the capital, Addis Ababa, lining the streets to see Isaias’ motorcade.

Some chanted songs criticizing the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, which was the Ethiopian ruling coalition’s strongest political party and hostile to Eritrea until Abiy came to power at the beginning of April and introduced a breathtaking series of political and economic reforms.

“Nothing can stop the ongoing reforms in Ethiopia,” Abiy told the crowd Sunday. “But we need to protect the democratic rights we are regaining now.”

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