The Eritrean President’s trip to Khartoum comes amid tense relations between the Ethiopian government, a close ally, and Sudan.
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki is in Khartoum to hold talks with Sudanese officials, during a two-day state visit between Ethiopian governments, a close ally of the Eritrean president, and Sudan.
Accompanied by Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and President Yemane Ghebreab’s adviser, Isaias was received on Tuesday at the international airport of Sudan’s capital by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s governing council.
The two leaders embarked on a series of talks on ways to strengthen relations between the two countries, according to the council.
Eritrea’s intelligence ministry also said in a separate statement that Isaias and al-Burhan had “agreed to strengthen their efforts in establishing an alliance that has been reached between the two countries politically, economically, socially, securityly, and militarily”.
President Isaias Afwerki & his envoys were received warmly at Khartoum International Airport by the President of the Supreme Council of Sudan, General Abdel Fatah al Burhan, Foreign Minister al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, and other dignitaries of Sudan and dignitaries pic.twitter.com/fY8osvvYrO
– Yemane G. Meskel (@hawelti) May 4, 2021
Isaias also held talks with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok in which he emphasized the need for regional integration in the Horn of Africa and “agreed to formulate a small, concrete agreement to strengthen Eritrea-Sudan-regional relations”.
The trip came after Sudan in February accused “someone” of joining forces with Ethiopia in the a decades-old border dispute and Sudan in agricultural areas promoted in the fertile area of al-Fashaga. It seems to refer to Eritrea, which has sent troops to the Tigray region of Ethiopia to fight alongside the Ethiopian army on the battlefield there.
Following Sudan’s claims, Eritrea sent a foreign minister to Sudan to assure Khartoum that Eritrea was not involved in the conflict between Sudan and Ethiopia. Late March, the United Nations reported that Eritrean troops were operating during the al-Fashaga era.
The al-Fashaga’s long-running conflict escalated in November after Sudan sent troops to areas claiming to be occupied by Ethiopian farmers and militias.
Sudan and Ethiopia have since held several talks to resolve the dispute, most recently in Khartoum in December, but have not made progress.
Sudan says its troops have recaptured much of its territory. But it called on Ethiopia to withdraw troops from at least two areas that are said to be within Sudan in a treaty that has strained borders between the two countries in the early 1900s.
Ethiopia, however, blamed Sudan for using the Tigray war to invade Ethiopia and seize property, kill civilians and deport thousands. The Tigray War has sent more than 70,000 Ethiopian refugees to Sudan.
Isaiah’s journey also comes in the face of impending doom from the outside world remove Eritrean troops from Tigray.
The Eritrean military, a former enemy of the now fleeing Tigray leaders, has also been accused of other gross atrocities in the Tigray war, including genocide and organized rape.