On May 24, Eritrea held celebrations to mark the 31st anniversary of its independence, won in 1991 when the forces of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Eritrea entered Asmara, determining the final capitulation of Ethiopian forces.

Independence Day celebrations were attended by the leadership cadres of the ruling single party, most notably President Isaias Afwerki, who addressed the nation in a speech that touched on numerous international political issues.

Afwerki spoke about the war in Ukraine, and defended Russia while accusing Western countries of responsibility for the conflict. The president compared the struggle for Eritrean independence to current international dynamics, brought about by what he called a “misinterpretation of the end of the Cold War” by “Western-dominated elites,” who felt they could seize a “historic opportunity” in the collapse of U.S.-U.S.S.R. bipolarity, in a neocolonial logic.

The containment of Russia, Afwerki continued, was manifested through the expansion of Western political and military control in Eastern Europe, sacrificing Ukraine as a pawn in a strategy destined to degenerate into conflict.

The same strategy, according to the Eritrean president, has been adopted to contain China’s role in Asia, instrumentalizing the dynamics related to Hong Kong and Taiwan and seeking to fuel conflict and rivalry across the continent. This approach, according to Afwerki, will result in risks that “will be no less, and probably far greater, than those that have affected Russia today.”

According to Africa Times, Isaias Afwerki would be interested in the possibility of giving Russia the permission to open a naval base in the Red Sea, thus confirming long-standing rumors on the subject, coinciding with Foreign Minister Saleh’s trips to Moscow and subsequent bilateral talks.


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