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Eritrea is Looking Towards the East: Between Security, Development, and Potential Implications

In a recent interview with TASS, the official Russian journal, the ambassador of the Russian Federation to Eritrea revealed a significant development. Asmara is actively strengthening its ties with major global players like Russia and China. This strategic move is not just for security and development but also to support Russia’s growing presence on the African continent, a move seen as a counterbalance to the dominance of Western states, similar to the USSR. The state of Eritrea voted against resolutions at the UN General Assembly denouncing the invasion of Ukraine. This was a clear signal to the Russians that the government of Eritrea (GOE) has an independent foreign policy regarding international conflicts and desires a strong strategic relationship.

As Russia and China expand their global influence, both countries are investing heavily in building alliances that can withstand Western pressure. In this high-stakes game, Eritrea, with its strategic location and crucial role in maritime and trade routes, is emerging as a key player. Eritrea’s potential to serve as a gateway to international maritime routes is a significant advantage, particularly for Russia, which is grappling with unprecedented sanctions, and China, for its Belt and Road projects. This underscores the strategic importance of Eritrea’s foreign policy shift and its potential to reshape regional geopolitics.

Since the peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia in 2018, the UNSC has lifted the unjustified sanctions on the country, and the Eritrean government has come out of international isolation. To foster diplomatic relations, the president and foreign minister have been visiting several countries and participating in various international summits, contributing to the efforts to develop the nation.

According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Economic Analysis (Least Developed Countries Triennial Review 2024), Eritrea is among the least developed countries. The Eritrean government desperately needs assistance across various sectors to uplift the nation. The president of Eritrea has specifically highlighted the need for support in developing infrastructure, fishing, mining, energy, human resources, banking, and communication sectors. The country is also grappling with challenges in the agricultural industry, including famine, deforestation, and climate change, and requires assistance to overcome these. Furthermore, security is a paramount issue; hence, the Eritrean government opposes the unilateral presence of Western powers in the Red Sea and is against using the Red Sea basin as their base to attack Yemen.

To conclude, the shift to the east by the GOE to enhance its development and prosperity is under severe scrutiny by thousands of Eritreans living and working in Western countries. Many Eritreans have not forgotten the betrayal of the Western powers in the 1950s when they silenced the voice of the Eritrean people’s right to independence and decided to federate Eritrea with Ethiopia for their geopolitical interests. Moreover, in the recent border conflict with Ethiopia, the West, led by the USA, stood with Ethiopia even after the International Court of Justice’s decision. They failed to pressure Ethiopia to withdraw its troops from the occupied territories and instead imposed heavy sanctions and embargoes against Eritrea. However, Eritreans would still like to see a pragmatic approach from the Eritrean government regarding its relationship with Russia and China. They should not be part of the fight between the great powers because it will not benefit the people and the country. Finally, what this significant development holds for Eritrea’s future growth and security remains to be seen.

Disclaimer

The views and opinions titled "Eritrea is Looking Towards the East: Between Security, Development, and Potential Implications", are those of Afewerki Ghebremichael and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Setit Media. ኣብዚ "Eritrea is Looking Towards the East: Between Security, Development, and Potential Implications", ዘርእስቱ ጽሑፍ ተገሊጹ ዘሎ ርእይቶን ሓሳብን ናይ Afewerki Ghebremichael እምበር መትከላትን መርገጽን ሰቲት ሚዲያ ዘንጸባርቕ ኣይኮነን።

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