A government delegation from Eritrea, consisting of Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and Presidential Advisor Yemane Ghebreab, visited Saudi Arabia on August 12, in Riyadh, where they met with Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan. The Saudi Ambassador to Asmara, Saqr Al-Qurashi, and the Director General of the Saudi Foreign Ministry’s Department of Arab-African Affairs, Muhammad Al-Ali, also attended the meeting.
Both countries announced the visit as part of the regular program of meetings established within the framework of the Joint Ministerial Commission to discuss developments in major issues of regional interest.
Information as usual scarce accompanied the visit from the Eritrean side, while Saudi Arabia briefly commented on the meeting hinting at the topics of discussion, which touched on bilateral relations and developments in the main regional political dynamics.
Although not confirmed by any source, the meeting certainly had as its primary topic of interest the evolution of the crisis in Tigray and the role of Eritrean forces presumably still present in some areas near the borders.
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly expressed its concern over the past months about the evolution of the crisis in Tigray, as well as the concomitant tension between Ethiopia, on the one hand, and Egypt and Sudan, on the other, arising from the development of the GERD dam, the filling of the reservoir upstream of the dam and, in the nearby al Fashaga area, the tensions generated by the unresolved border issue and the presence of an Ethiopian community of farmers in Sudanese territory.
The continuity of the program of meetings between the Eritrean and Saudi delegations is a positive sign in the bilateral dimension of the relationship between Riyadh and Asmara, which have become much closer in recent months, while at the same time both countries have cooled their relations with the United Arab Emirates.