Foreign Brief: Relations in Horn of Africa: a thawing of hostilities – 5 November

  • Foreign Brief analyses the rejuvenated trade and diplomatic relations across the Horn of Africa after a series of treaties were signed between Eritrea and its neighbours.
  • It discusses the importance of Eritrea-Djibouti relations for the wider region, noting Ethiopia’s past dependence on Djiboutian ports at high usage costs, and the prospect of easier access to the Red Sea through Eritrea. Eritrea could also position itself to replace Djibouti as a host for foreign military bases.
  • Renewed economic cooperation with Ethiopia and other counties could rehabilitate Eritrea’s $6.1b economy and fund developments to benefit the estimated 50% of the population living below the poverty line.
  • Although developments are promising, some 10,000 Eritreans arrived in Ethiopia and declared asylum between September 12 and October 2 alone, and few have cause to return.

Reuters: Eritrean president says trust growing with Ethiopia, but more work needed – 5 November

  • Reuters reports on President Isaias Afwerki’s comments on Eritrean television about the state of bilateral relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia, which he says have improved but need more work to ensure a sustainable and long-lasting peace.
  • President Afwerki told state-run EriTV that the peace deal had heralded a “transitional stage that will lead to a new era” between the two countries.
  • Commenting on the position of Eritrea in the world and the recent rapprochement with Ethiopia, Afwerki said that “the agenda of pitting Eritrea against Ethiopia as antagonists, an agenda that also sought to isolate Eritrea globally, has concluded. It never succeeded.”

Eritrea Digest: Isaias Afwerki Self-Interview: What Badme? – 4 November
Published by Eritrea Hub on 5 November

  • Eritrea Digest carries an opinion piece on President Isaias Afwerki’s EriTV interview, in which he answered four questions in 80 minutes.
  • The author claims that “the history of President Isaias Afwerki is the history of poor decisions and poor results. Eritrea under his presidency has exiled 500,000 people to add to the 1,000,000 already exiled during the 30-year war of independence. It has participated in 3-publicly known wars (with Yemen, Ethiopia and Djibouti) and 2 unknown wars (in Sudan and Congo.)”
  • Concluding that President Afwerki “must go”, the author says that “the opposition will continue to oppose and, if we are smart, we will ally with the two hopefuls in this subcontinent of ancient people with ancient minds: Abiy Ahmed and Mohammed Formajjio […] at the rate of Isaias misgovernance, we have become the overwhelming majority.”

Sudan Tribune: Sudanese official denies mediating for Sudan-Eritrea’s reconciliation – 4 November

  • The Sudan Tribune reports on the denial of Musa Mohamed Ahmed, the Sudanese Presidential Assistant to Omer al-Bashir, that he held talks with Eritrean officials on a recent visit to the country, but had instead been there on holiday. Another Sudanese official, Faisal Hassan Ibrahim, has previously been tasked with the Eritrea brief.
  • Discussing the peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia in July 2018, Mr Mohamed Ahmed said he would be keen to embark on the project of normalising relations between Sudan and Eritrea.
  • No mention of this expected normalisation of relations was made by the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) Council of Ministers after its meeting on 12 September.

Africanews: US backs down, Eritrea celebrates upcoming lifting of UN sanctions – 3 November

  • Africa News reports on the expectation that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will lift the sanctions imposed on Eritrea since 2009.
  • Part of a November 2018 Monthly Forecast of the UNSC’s ‘Expected Council Action’ read: “The Council will also consider lifting sanctions on Eritrea. The mandate review of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG), which expires on 15 December, is also due in November.”
  • The move, expected to take place on 14 November, comes in the wake of the peace initiative signed in July 2018, and a push from Horn of Africa Foreign Ministers at the UN General Assembly in New York last month.
  • The US has until recently maintained a strong position on upholding the sanctions. The UNSC imposed an arms embargo on Eritrea in 2009 because of its alleged support for al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia.
  • The United Kingdom is said to have circulated a move for the lifting of sanctions, while US security advisor John Bolton is also claimed to have said that Washington did not back an extension of the regime.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here