Eritrean President visits Russia
Eritrean President Issayas Afewerki breaks out of his diplomatic isolation. He who in recent years rarely left his country began this Tuesday, May 30, a four-day visit to Russia. This new official trip comes two weeks after a high-profile visit to China, marking Eritrea's alignment in the anti-Western diplomatic camp.
Eritrean President Issayas Afewerki during a visit to China, May 2023. (Illustrative image) AFP - FLORENCE LO
Text by: RFI Follow
It was in a plane marked with the Russian flag that Issayas Afewerki left Asmara on Tuesday at the invitation of his counterpart Vladimir Putin. He was accompanied by his Foreign Minister, Osman Saleh, but also by his Commissioner for Culture and Sport, Zemede Tekle. Because there is no doubt that the Abyssinian ancestry of the Russian poet Pushkin, whose statue was erected in 2009 in a square in the Eritrean capital, will be evoked in Moscow.
However, other much more political topics should be addressed. First, an important point of agreement between Russia and Eritrea, manifested by Asmara's support for Moscow in UN bodies: "the welcome decline in their eyes of American hegemony," says Fathi Osman, a former Eritrean diplomat and now a journalist. And, concretely, the hypothesis of the recommissioning of a former Soviet military base in the Eritrean port of Massawa, failing the naval base in Sudan at which Moscow worked before the war.
Eritrea also needs economic support. China provides him with some of it. "But by adding funds for Eritrea to its political and military support," adds Fathi Osman, "Russia would gain a 'brother-country' in a region highly strategic for it in its standoff with the West.»
ህዝቢ ኤርትራን ህዝቢ ሩስያን ክልተ ህዝቢ እዩ ዝብል ነቲ ሓቂ ብግቡእ ዘይፈልጥ ጥራይ ዩ
ድሕሪ ሕጂ ንስኻ ኢኻ ትመርሓና
heading to #Russia pic.twitter.com/W1R62wZzSW
— President Isaias Afwerki🇪🇷 (@AfeworkiIsayas) May 30, 2023
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- Issayas Afewerki