GOOBJOOG NEWS|ASMARA: Kenya’s President William Ruto visited Eritrea on Friday becoming among the first leaders to travel to the Red Sea nation outside the Horn of Africa.
According to a Twitter post from the Kenyan presidency, the two sides ‘discussed bilateral ties.’ It added that ‘Kenya treasures the cordial relations it enjoys with Eritrea and is keen on furthering this cooperation for regional stability and prosperity of the two countries.”
Nairobi and Asmara are not known to have maintained close bilateral ties, especially in light of the UN Sanctions against the Red Sea nation which were eventually lifted in 2021. Asmara had been accused of ties with Al-Shabaab and arming it against the Somali government.
Ruto now joins Somalia and Ethiopia both of who have been warming to the Eritrean leader Isaias Afwerki who had for about three decades been isolated from the international arena. Somalia, under President Mohamed Farmaajo and Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed alongside Afwerki, mooted the Horn Alliance outfit in 2018.
The new alliance saw the three leaders visit each other’s capitals and even explored an economic partnership but that deal collapsed in 2020 when Addis Ababa went into war with the Tigray Defence Forces in the north. Asmara supplied forces to the war and has reportedly maintained forces in the Tigray region despite vacation demands by the international community.
The Kenyan leader’s visit is a boost for Afwerki who has sought to shed off his ‘pariah’ status and join the international arena. The White House announced this past week it had locked out Eritrea from the upcoming US-Africa Summit.