President Isaias Afwerki expressed his support to South Sudan and called on President Salva Kiir to enhance relations with the Horn of Africa countries and Sudan especially.
President Kiir was in a two-day visit to Asmara for talks with his Eritrean counterpart on bilateral relations. The visit was seen as a confirmation of a new dynamic in the Horn of Africa region following the recent reconciliation between Addis Ababa and Asmara.
Speaking at a state dinner hosted Saturday evening in honor of President Kiir, President Afwerki pointed to the “distinct” relationship between the two people adding that Eritrea will stand with South Sudan “until and beyond the achievement of the mission of liberation”.
He further wished success to “domestic efforts” led by the SPLM to overcome the “numerous challenges that the country is facing.” he said in allusion to the five-year conflict in South Sudan but he never spoke about the civil war or the IGAD brokered peace process. Nonetheless, He called South Sudan to develop and enhance cooperation with the region countries. “I urge the people of South Sudan to nurture and consolidate ties of friendship and cooperation with all the peoples of the Horn of Africa in general and with the people of the Sudan in particular.”
In the past, Eritrea suspended its membership in the IGAD during 4 years from 2007 to 2011 but reactivated its membership in the regional body without plying a significant role due to its bad relations with Ethiopia, Somali Djibouti.
Recently, Ethiopian Prime Minister reconciled his country with Eritrea and pledged to implement a peace agreement signed twenty years ago over a disputed border area. Also, Somali’s President was in Asmara and called to remove sanctions on Eritrea.
President Afwerki said vowed to develop relations with South Sudan. “For our part, we shall continue to shoulder our responsibilities to strengthen our joint efforts and cooperation programs – modest as they are – in various matters and sectors.”
President Kiir returned on Sunday to Juba where he was received by his First Vice President Taban Deng Gai.