A UN delegation, led by the UN Regional Directors in Africa, went to Eritrea on January 24 for a five-day mission.
The first day of the delegation’s visit was dedicated to the signing of the five-year cooperation agreement for development in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, energy, industry, health and education.
The second day was dedicated to a meeting with the leaders of the governing party PFDJ, and in particular with the directors of the departments for economic affairs, the ministers of Agriculture and Justice and the Director General for Energy.
On January 28, the UN delegation met first with Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and then with Presidential Advisor Yemane Ghebreab, discussing wide-ranging issues. According to Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Meskel, these would have included options for reforming the UN to guarantee its founding charter, the continuing media campaigns of accusation against Eritrea, and the more general development of the regional dynamics. Minister Saleh reportedly insisted on Eritrean efforts to contribute to regional stability, while complaining to UN delegates about a continuing smear campaign against the country.
The subsequent meeting with the President’s advisor Yemane Ghebreab was instead dedicated to the role of the UN, which, according to the senior Eritrean politician, is operating “contrary to its founding principles, while its structure does not conform to the objective world situation, not serving the interests of developing countries like Eritrea, which believes in change and will work tirelessly for the transformation of the UN.”
While the technical meetings of the UN delegation with representatives of the various departments developed constructively and focused on the definition of specific cooperation programs, the political meetings highlighted the traditional Eritrean attitude to the blaming of the international community and self-absolving approach, limiting as always strongly any ability to build a better relationship with the UN and more generally with the international community.