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I Never Recommended Assab Belonged to Ethiopia: Ambassador Hermen Cohen

Former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Herman Cohen, corrects claims coming from Ethiopia that he had recommended that they should lay claim to Eritrea's port, Assab. 

By James Butty,

Former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Herman Cohen said he wanted to set the record straight about his recommendation during a London Conference on Ethiopia and Eritrea and Port Assab.

He said he did not say the port belongs to Ethiopia, contrary to what some in Ethiopia had attributed to him, and that he only recommended Ethiopia and Eritrea maintain a common economic union after Eritrea’s independence allowing Ethiopia to use the port.

“There are some people in Ethiopia who said that during the London Conference of 1991 I recommended that the Port of Assab belonged to Ethiopia. This is not correct. What I recommended was Ethiopia and Eritrea maintain a common economic union after Eritrea’s independence and, in that way, Ethiopia could use the Port of Assab,” he said.

Cohen said that before the war of 1998, Ethiopia used a section of the port for their imports and exports, which means that Assab did not belong to Ethiopia, but it had access to an exclusive zone.

He said the port should be the sovereign territory of Eritrea, but that Ethiopia should have the right to use it.

Listen to the audio below:
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I Never Recommended Assab Belonged to Ethiopia: Ambassador Hermen Cohen Reviewed by Admin on 2:16 PM Rating: 5


  1. If Mr. Cohen is speaking honestly, how in the world is an Eritrean sovereign Assab has Ethiopia the right to use. I think he is speaking with his forked tong as usually.

  2. Mr.. Cohen and his comrades in the free world are coming to realty it just took them over 24 years - he is getting close to making some sense - only Eritrea has the right to permit or deny any of it's ports be it Asseb or Massawa.
    That case was closed in Sahel and not in London....
    Hawakum Michael

  3. Sovereign means sovereign nothing less nothing more. Eritrea land belong to eritrea. Eritrea have the right to to let the camels swim on the pearl of Red Sea. It is our country.

  4. We Eriterians know Asab belong to us. We don't need assurance from white man that Asab belong to us.

  5. Yes, our ports are ours and no one can tell us how to run them or who may use them or not. That said, there is a gentleman's agreement (actually UN guidelines) that a landlocked country has a right to use whatever port it chooses. But, that DOES NOT mean by hook or by crook. All it means is that, for example, Ethiopia has a right to use port(s) in Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Sudan and Of course Eritrea with the agreement of those countries. The choice is Ethiopia's like it currently chose (foolishly) Djibouti. But it must be understood, Ethiopia is governed by the rules and regulations of the Djiboutian government.
    But this issue would never even have been a subject of discussion, if the ever stupid Weyanes were to continue using the Eritrean ports whether they were in agreement with Eritrea or not. Even at the height of the war, Eritrea had the wisdom not to stop Weyanes from using our ports. But the monkey head Dedebit graduates, thought they would hurt us more than they would to their alimony based economy when they amazingly decided to abandon our ports.

  6. Haqi I think Mr.. Cohen might be showing his frustration and desperation at the situation in Woyaneland!!- it dawn on him after 24 years that they can not afford to feed 85 million Ethiopians indefinitely and pay for the port of Djibouti. I guess their advise to Woyane was shortsighted.

  7. Alora Brother Dawit,
    The Camels own the Red Sea equally like every Eritrean.
    The camels deserve using Port Assab better than Woyane; after all, it is the beautiful Eritrean camels who died along our martyred Tegadelty. Little did the Frog Meles understood.

  8. Mr Cohen, withdraw your statement " Assab is the sovereign territory of Eritrea but Ethiopia has the right to use that port". Who decides the right of using the port? You or Eritreans? It is their port and no one can tell them what to do with it. We fought against them led by that sentiment for 30 years. We had enough of that albatross! No one has the right to speak on their behalf or their port except themselves. Let the government of Ethiopia and its people think and decide on how to settle their difference with Eritreans and live in peace! No one can trick us now we had enough, we are not living in the cold war!!

  9. VIVA to Eritrea when you are right and have trust in your self and you are not expansionist and jealous about your neighbors God Given long cost be sure that you will win this statement should be recorded and saved for the future (Woyane stop themselves using our ports ) they have chosen another service & keep saying if we don't use it who else ?? there will be additional port in the future like ( Marsa Galboob,Adulis,Taio,Bailol,etc)
    plus so many projects in Dahlak Islands and Gulf Of Aden Islands.

  10. They forfeited their right to Assab when they attacked us unprovoked and illegally occupied Badme. We dont need any relation with them until international law is respected.

    Until then, let them continue shooting themselves in the foot by paying billions to Djibouti.

  11. Yeah, between the billions in port fees, the increasing resentment of Ethiopian people standard of living (and subsequent protester shootings), and their military defections, weyane time is up in 2015

  12. But the Port of Assab is now useless to Ethiopia. It's has been in disuse for over 16 years. It would take a huge amount of investment to upgrade and modernize it to make it cost effective, efficient and competitive with the likes of Djibouti, Berbera, Kismayo, Mombasa, Lamu (which is under huge construction, Port Sudan and Suakin. Despite the loss of Massawa and Assab, Ethiopia's economy is one of the fastest growing on the Continent. Despite the loss of Massawa and Assab, Ethiopia is slated to become a middle income country in 10 years. So tell me, why do you think after all this time Assab or all of Eritrea for that matter is relevant to Ethiopia? Even Ethiopia decided to consider using Assab and Massawa, who the hell is going to pay for the modernization of the ports to meet Ethiopia's growning needs?? NOT ETHIOPIA. What is draining our resources is the over 110,000 of your people that have crossed the border into Ethiopia as refugees and still coming at a clip of 2,000 per month. What is draining our resources is our stupid government granting scholarship to Eritreans to attend Ethiopian universities while there are Ethiopians in their native land to whom such benefits should be afforded. It has become abundantly clear and do please get it through your collective thick skulls. .... We Ethiopians have no need nor desire for Assab, Massawa or Eritrea for that matter. It is a BLESSING that you left, but I just wish you'd leave completely, your 80,000 residents and your 110,000 and still counting refugees. You are irrelevant to Ethiopia, you know it too, damn well. That is what eating you out from the inside like a maggots in a dead stinking carcass, that your belief Ethiopia could not survive without Eritrea is nothing but a pipe dream, wishful thinking that had grown out of arrogance and stupidity. Now you're paying the price, with your organs... harvested for sale. A phenomena that has not occured to such degree in the history of mankind... and now the image, brand and ethos of Eritrea.. exporter of human organs, poster child of human trafficking. Shameless is what you are. Truly.

  13. I dont think ethiopia needs the port at all. Without being used by ethiopia the port is simply useless to eritrea. It is infact eriotrea that needs to ask ethiopia to use the port. But for ethiopia djibuti is better because they have more education and the french is protecting them. That means isayas can do nothing to intimidate them.

  14. what an idiot??? The cost of transport from Djibouti to the north and west of Ethiopia is at least 3 times higher than importing through are just cutting of your nose to spite your face

  15. 1. If Eritrea wasn't useful to you, why did you spend 30 years fighting to keep us?
    2. If you didn't care, why are you on our website and writing huge comment wasting your time?
    3. Your government is giving scholarship to handful Eritreans for propaganda purposes, trying to win our people. If Eritrea is no use to them, why bother?
    4. Don't flatter yourself, Eritreans are using you as a stepping stone. We have always migrated and we will continue to
    5. You are the one eaten out from inside
    6. Ethiopia's economy is going nowhere, 90% of your balance of payment is covered by aid for which you are being f****d in the a** by aid agencies.

  16. Attention, The port of Assab doesn't belong to Eritrea or Ethiopia, it belongs to the Great Nation of Afar. Period.

  17. Aregawi,
    Don't worry, DIA is dreaming for Demhit to take power in Ethiopia then the port will be used by the new Ethiopia where DIA will have the upper hand.

  18. Fucke'n Zionist Jew... the nerve Cohen saying "Ethiopia should have the right to use it". Who is he to decide on who can use Assab? ... Kill this mothafucker Jew, hell shit.. somebody shoot this old pussy please.

  19. The Afars are Eritreans like the other 9 tribes we know they live in majority in Ethiopia but these are Ethiopian Afars our Afars are living from Dahlak Islands and Massawa up to border in Ethiopia and Djibouti finally Assab was the first city colonized by Italy in Eritrea i don't know why they Ethiopians entertain badmouthing us they are using Djibouti but still are not satisfied you better pay for French,Arabs ..etc even to the Devil himself and stay away ( let the Camels enjoy the Blue Ocen )

  20. Ahhhhhhhh Eritrea is a fragile country thanks to PIA . We made a mistake in 1991 but not 2020. If we need we can make hamassen landlocked.

  21. If Assab is ours how do Ethiopia have the right to use it. Come on even my 7 yr old child knows what's hers is hers no one has a right to what belongs to her, unless they ask nicely(please) PERIOD.

  22. Of course Assab is Eritrea, we don't need someone telling us that. and about the use of Assab, well we can do what ever we want with it. If they don't like that...we don't give a rats @ss what they think. Ma house ma rules... So before you come in here with some kinda attitude, you better read the house rules.

  23. yesssssssssssssssssssss thanks mister Herman Assab belongs to Eritrea yesterday today and forever god bless u .

  24. yessssssssssss Ethiopia doesn't even have right to use it unless we Eritrean say it is fine to use it


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