| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Lavrov bolsters Eritrean support for Russia in conflict with Ukraine

On a visit of Africa to boost support for Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki on Thursday. They discussed the “dynamics of the war in Ukraine,” according to Eritrea’s communications minister.

Lavrov has been on the continent for a week, beginning with South Africa, which is organizing joint military exercises with Russia and China, and concluding with a surprise visit to the reclusive Eritrean state in the Horn of Africa.

South Africa is one of Russia’s most important allies on a continent divided over the invasion and Western attempts to isolate Moscow because of its military actions.

Eritrea is one of the few African countries that voted against a U.N. resolution condemning Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine although many abstained.

The talks in Eritrea also explored ways of enhancing ties in energy, mining, information technology, education and health, Information Minister Yemane Meskel said in a tweet late on Thursday.


Yemane did not respond to request for more information on Friday.

Lavrov’s visit to Africa coincides with others by senior U.S. officials, who are crisscrossing the continent to shore up ties with U.S. allies on the continent.

Speaking when he met Lavrov’s delegation on Thursday, Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh blamed the crisis in Ukraine on what he described as the United State’s “reckless policy of hegemony and containment” over a number of decades.

“The sad fact is that Ukraine is both a pretext and victim of this policy,” Osman said during the speech delivered in the Red Sea port of Massawa.

There was no mention of the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, where Eritrean troops were fighting alongside their Ethiopian federal counterparts against rebellious Tigrayan forces.

A deal to end the fighting was signed last November but Eritrea was not party to the truce. Eritrean troops have started to leave some parts of Tigray, witnesses said.

  • Reuters