July 14, 2024

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Secret Deal between Eritrean President & Ethiopian PM

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Revelations from a Djibouti’s minister have shed light on a secret understanding between the Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

A member of Djibouti’s cabinet recently gave a talk about the impact of recently signed Ethiopia-Somaliland MoU on political and economic situation in Djibouti. The minister claimed that after Ethiopian and Eritrean forces defeated Tigray forces, Eritrea agreed to give Ethiopia access to sea. Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders/governments never said a word about this secret understanding.

Last year, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a new narrative about access to sea. In a 45 minute long speech, he resorted to ethnic and historical context to prove that Ethiopia had natural rights to gain access to sea. Though he never mentioned Eritrea in his talk, but, back then it was said that the target of his talk was Eritrea. His talk indicated that he was frustrated with Eritrea. He said that Ethiopia was ready to give shares in Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Ethiopian Airlines etc to gain access to sea.

The revelations from Djibouti’s minister indicate that during the course of 2-year long Tigray war, Eritrean President and Ethiopian Prime Minister reached some understanding which was not honored later on. Eritrean and Ethiopian militaries jointly fought against Tigray forces in the war which ended in November 2022.

It seems that Eritrean President agreed to let Ethiopia use Eritrean ports because he wanted to completely crush his arch rival i.e. Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). But Pretoria deal between TPLF and Ethiopian federal government and its non implementation frustrated the Eritrean President.

After Pretoria deal, reportedly, Eritrea leadership refused to allow Ethiopia to use Eritrean ports. Eritrea never officially rejected Pretoria peace deal. But it has been criticizing the non implementation of key clauses of the deal.

Ethiopia Eritrea relations are strained these days. President Isaias Afwerki and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed avoided each other at some recent appearances in Russia, Kenya and Italy.

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