By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki is calling on Russia to play its part to end what he called a long-standing unipolar world order dominated by the United States.
Afwerki’s four-day trip this week, on the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, seemed to be a reward for Asmara’s staunch support for Moscow, now in the bad books of the West for invading Ukraine in February last year.
In four votes at the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council, Eritrea has often opposed negative decisions on Russia. It rejected a vote to condemn Russia’s invasion, calls to condemn Moscow’s decision to occupy certain Ukrainian regions and recently voted ‘no’ when the UN General Assembly decided to direct Russia to withdraw from Ukraine in a February 2023 session.
On Wednesday, during a meeting with Putin in Moscow, Mr Afwerki said that “the unipolar world order” dominated by the US had contributed to the “spiral of crises and destruction around the world.”
“It is necessary to press for the allocation of the necessary resources that are needed for transition to a new, civilised international order, based on mutual respect, cooperation, mutual complementarity and prosperity, where justice and the rule of law are the highest values.
“We must and are obliged to do this. I hope, and I am convinced, that Russia will play its part in this mission of the whole of humanity on the road towards solidarity and cooperation among free peoples,” the Eritrean leader said.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Afwerki and Putin discussed bilateral relations, regional and international issues of common interest.
The Moscow visit came just two weeks after the Eritrean leader made the trip to Beijing for three days, where he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two world powers – China and Russia – have been at loggerheads with the US over rising influence, especially in Africa and the southern hemisphere in general.
Asmara, like Moscow, has been critical of sanctions imposed on its economy by the West. While Moscow was sanctioned for invading Ukraine, Asmara’s top officials and some government entities were sanctioned by the US for sending troops to Ethiopia during the Tigray war. The war in northern Ethiopia ended last November after two years in a fight between Ethiopian forces and the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front. Eritrea was fingered for atrocities against civilians in Tigray.
Mr Putin underlined that Mr Afwerki’s first official visit to Russia contributed highly to developing bilateral relations.
The two sides established diplomatic ties 30 years ago, but it was only in January this year that Russia sent its highest diplomat to Asmara, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
During his Eritrean visit, Afwerki and Lavrov talked about the dynamics of the Ukraine war and enhancing bilateral ties in the energy, mining, information technology, education and health sectors.
(Source: The East African)