Eritrea’s President H.E. Isaias Afwerki has lately intensified his political and diplomatic activity in the region after laid dormant for years of unproductive, low level diplomatic engagements with regional and international organizations largely for a less-known reasons.
His successful three days state visit to Uganda was the beginning of the planned diplomatic salvos and that quickly followed by a four days state visit to Equatorial Guinea. Uganda is a key member of the regional block IGAD while Equatorial Guinea is the country that holds the current rotating presidency of the African Union.
His complete, kind of self-imposed absenteeism in regional politics and diplomacy, for whatsoever reason, has benefitted his nemesis to fully manipulate his absence from regional political groupings like IGAD and AU, to advance their agendas against his country, Eritrea. Last year, it was IGAD and AU that endorsed an Ethiopian driven UN sanction on Eritrea based on unfounded accusations.
Eritrea’s traditional sphere of influence like in its backyard Sudan for instance has recently seemed challenged by its regional rival and archenemy Ethiopia. Dictator Meles Zenawi looked at Eritrea’s “modest contribution” to the problems in Sudan and the region as a sign of back-pedaling that led to proclaim himself as the new found peace broker in Sudan. He made two successive trips to Sudan in a single week to present his “brand new initiative” for a comprehensive peaceful settlement for Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan conflicts .
However, the renewed and energized come back of Eritrea in regional politics and diplomacy has irked Ethiopia for obvious reasons. In their latest futile attempt to obstruct Eritrea’s own drive within IGAD, they temporarily blocked Eritrea from activating its membership using their soon to expire rotating IGAD chairmanship.
Much to their frustration, President Isaias set to leave for New York leading his country’s delegation to attend the 66th session of the UN General Assembly. So frustrated by the sudden change of events and political dynamics, coupled with the embarrassment the regime suffered after the release of Wikileaks Ethiopia files, Zenawi forced to drop the invitation and participate only by its foreign ministry. Their cheap propaganda machination, however, doesn’t spare to associate Afwerki’s visit with a mission to kill the Palestinian statehood bid.
However, deep inside their deceptive heart, they know it’s a mission to kill their evil desire that they were cooking for quite some time against Eritrea in the name of IGAD communiqué.
Here is our round up of the entire media buzz in relation to president Afwerki’s New York visit and the subsequent diplomatic and political benefits that he might possibly gained out of it.
President Isaias to attend the 66th UN General Assembly in New York (TesfaNews, September 16)
President Isaias Afwerki today left for New York to attend the 66th session of the UN General Assembly.
This visit comes following his meeting with the UN chief at the independence celebration of South Sudan in the capital Juba where the president expressed his readiness to visit the UN headquarter to present Eritrea’s views on regional issues.
The president also requested Ban Ki-Moon to create for him the necessary forum so that his government representatives and its accusers meet face to face.
Kuwait Amir’s Representative Meets President of Eritrea (Kuwait News Agency, September 20)
His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s representative, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, received Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki.
HH Sheikh Nasser, the head of the Kuwaiti delegation at the 66th session of the United Nations 66th General Assembly, received, along with his accompanying delegation, the Eritrean president, at the headquarters of the State of Kuwait at the UN in New York, late on Monday.
The distinctive ties between the State of Kuwait and friendly country Eritrea and issues of common interest were discussed during the meetings.
President Isaias Holds talks with Prime Minister of Kuwait (Shabait, September 20)
President Isaias Afwerki held talks in New York on the 19th of September with the Prime Minister of Kuwait, Sheikh Naseer Al-Mohammed Al-Mahmud Al-Sabah, on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest to both countries.
Reporters indicated that the two sides agreed to work together for strengthening the historical relations between Eritrea and Kuwait dating to the days of the armed struggle for independence and conducted extensive discussion regarding the situation in the Horn of Africa and the Palestinian issue.
Moreover, President Isaias lauded Kuwait’s assistance to development programs in Eastern Sudan in accordance with the Peace Agreement signed in Asmara, and pointed out that Eritrea and Sudan are working together towards reinforcing the peace process in Eastern Sudan.
Chinese FM Meets Eritrean President (Xinhua, September 21)
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met Tuesday with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki.
During their meeting, Yang said cooperation between China and Eritrea has maintained sound momentum in various areas since the two countries forged their diplomatic ties in 1993. Both sides have seen fruitful cooperation in fields like trade, health, education, culture and personnel training.
China appreciates Eritrea’s adherence to the one-China policy, Yang said, adding that China would like to make joint efforts with Eritrea in a bid to push bilateral relations to a new high.
For his part, Afwerki said he hoped the two sides could strengthen trade and investment, and deepen cooperation in infrastructure, energy, agriculture, education and health. Eritrea also looked forward to seeing China continue to play a positive role in promoting peace, stability and development in Africa, he said.
President Isaias Hold talks with Foreign Minister of China (Shabait, September 21)
President Isaias Afwerki held talks in New York on September 20 with the Chinese Foreign Minister Mr. Yang Jiechi.
In their meeting, President Isaias expressed Eritrea’s expectation that China, which is registering all-round progress, to make major contribution to Africa in its endeavors to ensure the wellbeing of its people. The Chinese Foreign Minister on his part elaborated that his country will do its level best to promote Africa’s development.
Moreover, the two sides pointed out that Eritrean-Chinese relations is both exemplary and productive, besides reaching understanding that the two countries to work together so as to enhance cooperation, particularly in trade and investment.
UN Chief Holds talks with Tanzanian and Eritrean Leaders (UN News Center, September 21)
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with the leaders of Eritrea and Tanzania today to discuss some of the many political and humanitarian challenges confronting Africa.
In a tête-à-tête with Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki, held on the sidelines of the General Assembly’s annual general debate, Mr. Ban discussed peace and security issues in the Horn of Africa, particularly Somalia, Sudan and the long-standing border demarcation issue between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
President Isaias holds talks with UN Secretary General (Shabait, September 22)
President Isaias Afwerki who is currently participating in the 66th session of the UN General Assembly in New York yesterday held talks with the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon.
During the meeting at UN headquarters, the President expressed expectations that the world body play effective role in coping with complex challenges that the world is currently undergoing involving economic crisis and a host of other problems.
Stressing that the UN should live up to its responsibility as regards the Eritrean-Ethiopia issue, and that failing to do so would put its credibility into question.
President Isaias asserted Eritrea’s readiness to work together with the UN and the Secretary General in all issues pertaining to peace, security and development.
Furthermore, the President underlined that the UN needs to exert vigorous endeavors towards ensuring peace and stability in Somalia and Sudan.
Mr. Ban Ki-moon on his part pointed out that although he is aware of Eritrea’s complaints regarding the UN, he nonetheless supports Eritrea’s positive role in the Horn region and that he needs its support.
The UN chief further indicated that he had presented a report to the Security Council following his meeting with President Isaias in Juba, and that he is ready to visit Eritrea and continue the ongoing dialogue with Eritrea.
President Isaias Hold talks with Heads of State of Guinea and Senegal (Shabait, September 21)
President Isaias Afwerki held talks in New York on September 20 with the Presidents of Guinea and Senegal.
In his meeting with President Alpha Conde of Guinea, President Isaias and the Guinean leader agreed to work together towards enabling Africa to solve its own issues, play due role at international forums taking into account the number of the people and resources, as well as strengthening cooperation among African countries and reinforcing the AU.
They also agreed on Eritrean-Guinean collaboration in essential development sectors.
Likewise, in his talks with President Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal, which focused on developments in Africa, President Isaias and the Senegalese leader agreed to work together in strengthening the African Union.
Combating land degradation integral part of Eritrea’s development strategy: Foreign Minister
(Shabait, September 21)
Eritrean Foreign Minister, Mr. Osman Saleh, addressing a conference on land degradation, desert expansion and drought on September 20 at UN headquarters in New York City said that combating land degradation is an essential component of Eritrea’s strategy to alleviate poverty and ensure food security.
Mr. Osman expressed Eritrea’s conviction that the aforementioned task should be carried out on the basis of active community participation.
Pointing out that Eritrea has designated 200 thousand hectares of reserve land, constructed numerous terraces and planted more than 90 million tree seedlings over the past couple of years, the Foreign Minister elaborated that about 300 micro-dams are making vital contribution in soil and water conservation, development of irrigation farming and ensuring potable water supply.
President Isaias holds talks with Russian Foreign Minister (Shabait, September 22)
President Isaias Afwerki on 21 September held extensive discussion in New York with the Russian Foreign Minister, Mr. Sergey Lavrov.
During their discussions at the UN headquarters, the President and the Russian Foreign Minister agreed on strengthening relations between Eritrea and Russia and enhance mutual cooperation. Moreover, they agreed that the relations should encompass economic, trade and investment, as well as international political issues.
President Isaias further expressed Eritrea’s expectation that Russia as member of the Security Council should enhance its role as regards African development and progress.
President Isaias holds talks with British Minister of International Cooperation (Shabait, September 22)
President Isaias Afwerki on 21 September held extensive discussion in New York with the British Minister of International Cooperation, Mr. Andrew Mitchell.
In their meeting at his suite, Mr. Andrew Mitchell, the President pointed out that development programs in Eritrea, especially ensuring food security are making headway. As a result, Eritrea is not affected by the famine hovering over the region, he elaborated.
Furthermore, President Isaias said that there exist ample opportunity to develop ties in the domain of trade and investment, and that both sides need to take practical steps to this end.
Mr. Andrew Mitchell said on his part that Britain supports Eritrea’s current extensive and positive diplomatic activities and that it wishes to develop bilateral trade and investment relations. He further explained that his country would follow up the matter.
Recalling that he visited Eritrea in 2009, Mr. Andrew Mitchell expressed desire to visit Eritrea again and continue the talks with President Isaias. Besides, the British official delivered Prime Minister David Cameron’s reply to the message President Isaias sent earlier regarding the border issues.
President Isaias holds talks with President of Nigeria (Shabait, September 22)
President Isaias Afwerki on 21 September held talks with his Nigerian counterpart, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan.
The two leaders asserted that Eritrea and Nigeria are ready to work jointly towards ensuring African development, in addition to upgrading the continent’s voice and role in international forums.
Following exchange of views on issues of mutual interest and that of Africa, the two leaders assigned the Foreign Ministers of Eritrea and Nigeria to map out concrete programs aimed at developing relations between the two countries.
President Isaias holds talks with Mauritanian Foreign Minister (Shabait, September 23)
President Isaias Afwerki met and held talks in New York on September 22 with the Foreign Minister of Mauritania, Mr. Hamadi Ould Hamadi. The two sides discussed bilateral relations, and regional as well as international issues of mutual interest.
President Isaias holds talks with Emir of Qatar (Shabait, September 24)
President Isaias Afwerki and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamed Bin Kelifa Al-Thani, held talks in New York on 23 September on bilateral, regional and international issues.
In the meeting the two leaders exchanged views on significant issues featuring in the agenda of the UN General Assembly.
Moreover, following discussion on issues in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa as well as restructuring of the UN, the two leaders reached understanding on the steps that need to be taken for deepening Eritrean-Qatari relations.
President Isaias holds talks with Italian Foreign Minister (Shabait, September 24)
President Isaias conducted discussion in his lounge on 23 September 23 with the Italian Foreign Minister, Mr. Franco Frattini.
During the meeting, Mr. Franco indicated that Italy expects Eritrea, as a country that plays significant role in the Horn of Africa, to enhance its role towards resolving issues in the region.
Furthermore, following discussion on the Sudanese and Somali issues, the two sides reached understanding to exert vigorous efforts towards strengthening Eritrean-Italian ties, especially in trade and investment, according to reporters from the Ministry of Information.
Mr. Frattini asserted that the Italian government would exert the necessary endeavors towards raising investment on the part of Italian companies in Eritrea.
Eritrean Foreign Minister held talks with Sudanese Counterpart (Sudan Vision, September 24)
Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti today held talks with his Eritrean counterpart, Osman Saleh, on ways of strengthening bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries, in addition to activating the IGAD to play its role in serving issues of the region.
The minister affirmed the role that can be played by Eritrea to urge the State of the South to stop interfering in Sudan’s internal affairs and pay attention to its internal affairs, in reference to the support of the government of the south to the insurgency in the states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, indicating to Sudan readiness to support the Government of South in building its institutions if case of their cooperation.