Eritrea’s Ministry of Information reported on September 22 that a seminar entitled “Current Political Situation and Consistent Resilience Programs” was organized in Asmara, attended by senior cadres of the ruling Popular Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) party.

According to official sources, the meeting was replicated in the country’s other major cities in order to discuss national development programs as well as the evolution of political dynamics in the Horn of Africa, and saw senior representatives of the state take turns in leading the main working tables dedicated to national politics, the economy and social programs, as part of a broader consideration of regional and global dynamics.

According to local sources, however, the Asmara and the provincial meetings were organized not to illustrate the development priorities of government projects, but rather to announce the imminent adoption by the United States of new heavy sanctions against Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The meeting in Asmara, in particular, would have focused on the developments of the conflict in Tigray – not so positive for Ethiopia as for Eritrea – and on the nature of the upcoming U.S. sanctions against the country, identifying their contents and the possible consequences on the economy and management of social services.

The concrete fear, both in Addis Ababa and in Asmara, is that these new sanctions could be able to effectively compromise the ordinary management of national economy, and as well be more incisive against selected individuals of the leadership. In the first round of sanctions, the United States specifically targeted the Chief of Staff of the Eritrean Armed Forces, General Filipos Woldeyohannes, and there are increasing rumors circulating in Ethiopia and Eritrea of new nominal sanctions against top members of the both governments.

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