April 2019

On April 23, 2019, Eritrea unilaterally shut all border crossings with Ethiopia, after having them reopened in July 2018. After 20 years of ‘cold war’ between the two, the border was finally reopened in July 2018, resulting in thousands of crossing, flourishing cross-border trade, and the reconnection of separated families. The mass migration of Eritreans into Ethiopia after the July 2018 peace could be the reason why Eritrea has now decided to unilaterally close the border again.

A day before, Eritrean President Afwerki met with Somali President Farmaajo in Asmara, and “…in their meeting at State House today, the two Presidents discussed status and progress of Eritrea-Somalia ties of cooperation and partnership as well as vital matters pertaining to Red Sea & Gulf of Aden,” according to Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Meskel said on Twitter.

Earlier in April, Foreign Minister Osman Saleh visited six capitals in a space of two weeks, demonstrating Eritrea reignited foreign policy attempts. With Sudan going through significant political turmoil, Eritrea has an uncertain northern neighbour. Increased agreements and understandings between other neighbours on the continent and across the Red Sea have thus become more relevant for Eritrea. In the meeting with Egypt, for example, the two countries discussed bilateral cooperation as well as issues pertaining to the Nile Basin, Horn of Africa & Red Sea Region.

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