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Eritrea’s Diplomatic Victories at 24

Senior Eritrean delegation participating at the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York - 24 SEP 2014

Eritrea’s Diplomatic Victories at 24 

Amanuel Biedemariam

For many underdeveloped countries particularly African, Diplomacy means: to be flexible, to acquiesce, compromise, undermine-once-principle and values to accommodate suitors at the expense of long term interests of the nations they claim serve.

Eritrea’s firm and principled stances are therefore aberration to the norm and thorn on the sides of those who benefit from the diplomatic acquiescence or submissiveness of countries that sell their souls in order to remain in power for financial or other gains. Many considered those stances undiplomatic. However, as the saying goes, there is more than one way to skin the cat. Eritrea’s diplomatic approaches prove that there is alternative to the diplomacy that African nations practiced for decades.

According to major dictionaries, Diplomacy is: 1) The art and practice of conducting negotiations between nations 2) Skill in handling affairs without arousing hostility.

Eritrea’s principled approach to diplomacy is based upon, 1) Long term interests of Eritrea 2) uncompromising stance on ensuring sovereignty 3) ensuring Eritrean people’s needs first 4) unwavering vigilance on national security.

As for the skills on handling diplomacy, Eritrea’s approach is based on experience, astute observation of international developments, patience, flexibility, doggedness in pursuit of interests and, meticulously-approached-understanding of global politics. It is based on the belief that international laws and systems have a role to play and, by adhering to international laws, systems and norms. It is based on positions of strength. It is also based on the will, drive and unity of the Eritrean people.

The people of Eritrea participate as extension of the government’s diplomatic core, voluntarily. Eritreans in the Diaspora are briefed by their embassy officials’ regularly; they are aware and astute about Eritrea’s diplomatic needs and engage proactively as needed.

Prior to the passing of the sanctions, individuals from the US State Department  worked hard to include Eritrea in a list of countries associated with terrorism and targeted the 2% rehabilitation tax that Eritreans in the Diaspora pay. To counter, Eritreans waged effective public campaign and stopped it.  The campaign by the State Department was an effort to intimidate Eritreans and stop them from supporting their government. This strategy is effective for most communities from other countries. Eritreans however, were invigorated and used the opportunity to come together rallied behind the government.   
Furthermore, Eritrea’s diplomacy is never conducted at the expense of another nation or for political expediency. It is based on pursuing mutually beneficial interests for all involved. It is conducted by paying hawkish attention to Eritrean national interests and not by sacrificing principle or values

US in the Middle

After World War II, when most African nations received independence, to ensure its national strategic interests, the US denied Eritrea the opportunity to become independent. In 1991, as Eritrea won independence, the former Soviet Union fell which paved ways for the US to assume superiority over international affairs. Not-long-thereafter, in 1998, Eritrea was forced to face yet another challenge to her existence. A war that lasted for over two years was waged under the guise of border war that took the lives of tens of thousands Eritreans needlessly.

Furthermore, a sophisticated asymmetric-warfare was initiated to subjugate Eritrea. The agenda is to isolate, render Eritrea a failed state and undo hard won independence. To that end economic and diplomatic isolation was the method applied to strangulate Eritrea.

Disconnecting Eritrea diplomatically also meant economic suffocation. Ethiopia, Sudan and Yemen made trilateral pact to encircle and strangulate Eritrea whilst Ethiopia and the US used the African Union based in Addis Ababa to campaign and further-alienate Eritrea. The Arab League was used to condemn Eritrea at every turn to validate the demonization and justify punitive measures. The European Union was also used to ensure that EU countries cannot engage on economic activities, trade, developmental assistance or cooperation.  Wikileaks exposed how Germany backed-off from funding the Bisha Goldmine under pressure or at the behest of the US.

These collective campaigns were-then used to pressure the UN particularly China and Russia into going-along with punitive sanctions against Eritrea. Done in escalating fashion, the first step was the arms embargo, Resolution 1907 (2009), a sanction imposed based on lies. Later, under pressure from the US, in 2011, the UN passed Resolution 2023. The second sanction was meant to deny Eritrea the revenue-stream from the mining sector. This time however, Russia objected and the UN passed a “watered-down” sanction.
These economic, political and diplomatic webs are what Eritrea was forced to contend-with. The layers of diplomatic hurdles were insurmountable by any standard, however, and when it is African nation like Eritrea targeted by the US, that nation is almost doomed.

Deconstructing the Diplomatic Hurdles 

The people of Eritrea are no-stranger to western designs and machinations. Years of struggle have made them aware and able to stand against it. The homeland is vigilantly observed by the gallant Eritrean forces hence more manageable, relative to the task of establishing or reestablishing diplomatic ties independent from US pressures.

Eritrea’s diplomatic successes are too significant to detail in this piece. It is therefore important to highlight, a) the mindset and b) the ways Eritrea victoriously managed to expose the diplomatic hurdles that aimed to stifle the nation.

Firstly, it is the mindset of veteran Eritrean leadership that believes peace is prerequisite for success (Eritrea cannot afford to be entangled in endless conflicts) and that Eritrea must overcome and defeat all challenges to her sovereignty to be considered viable.

The second most important aspect is how Eritrea managed to expose the machination methodically:
Those who demonize and try to destabilize Eritrea own no moral or legal high-grounds. Every attempt against Eritrea was illegally conceived, based on false morale pretext and designed to stop Eritrea’s progress by any means necessary. It is not humanitarian, justice-minded or democratic.

These machinations are obvious to the people of Eritrea. They understand that the west, in one hand is subjecting the youth to the trenches to defend and turn around blame Eritrea for the national service program that aims to develop while defending Eritrea.

Eritrea’s consistent adherence to the rule of law; the unity, determination, strength and the perseverance of the people Eritrea managed to expose the duplicity and foiled the agendas that aimed to, in one hand blame Eritrea for host of human rights violations and destabilizing roles in the region while allowing the rule of law to be undermined by Ethiopia that openly declared regime-change, hosted countless anti Eritrea groups and openly bragged for militarily-attacking Eritrea on numerous occasions. Ethiopia is brazenly occupying Eritrean territories and provoking hostilities rather than seeking peace and stability. Disregarding these obvious violations, the US labels Eritrea problem maker of the region. This however is a miscalculation based on the notion that Ethiopia will prevail and Eritrea will fail.

Ironically, everything they tried worked against them. In a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative on September 25 of 2012, President Obama made the following remarks:

“I recently renewed sanctions on some of the worst abusers, including North Korea and Eritrea.  We’re partnering with groups that help women and children escape from the grip of their abusers.  We’re helping other countries step up their own efforts.  And we’re seeing results.  More nations have passed and more are enforcing modern anti-trafficking laws.”

As confusing as it may sound this is an expression of incoherent policy that intended to destabilize by encouraging uncontrolled youth flight. That led to refugees flooding the Sinai believing Eritrea to be get-unchallenged-asylum-card. Israel, a country that grapples with the right to return for Palestinians, allowed refugees access and soon found out that it opened uncontrollable floodgates.  Israel was then forced to deal with the consequences by systematically kicking-out the refugees and drew attention from rights groups. What started as a ploy to destabilize Eritrea became a source of major national and regional security issue for countries involved. Europe is dealing with these issues in the same manner.

Most of the countries that granted asylum to those that claimed to have fled Eritrean national service are now forced to retract their asylum review process based on Danish authorities’ report that went to Eritrea and did extensive research. The 79 page report called, “Eritrea: Drivers and Root Causes of Emigration, National Service and the Possibility of Return” which concluded that Eritrean migrants aren’t refugees is now the bible that Europe is using to refuse asylum. Most European countries and others are adopting the report to make asylum decisions with the hopes to stem the flow of refugees.

Eritrea was forced to deal with many issues in ways no African country has to deal with. How Eritrea dealt with the adversities was a reflection on the nation. And Eritrea dealt with it with class, dignity, by standing firmly on principles that ensured-advocated dignity and proper treatment of Eritreans. Eritrea kept open communication with all affected countries and used the issue to attack the underlying causes that lead to instability and offered/showed the world alternative solutions. In other words, Eritrea diplomatically unraveled the agendas while reestablishing longstanding relations with many of these countries.

The results are reflected on the level of interest EU countries are showing. From May 26-28, a group comprised of representatives from the EU, British, French, Italian, Switzerland, Belgian, Turkish Ambassadors and first secretary of Embassy of Check Republic have conducted a three days tour in the Anseba and Gash Barka regions, witnessed development-activities and experienced the prevailing peace in Eritrea.  Many of these countries have economic interests in Eritrea.

Eritrea exhibited tremendous resolve and creativity when dealing with international matters. Eritrea’s neutral non-interference policy also contributed on how countries perceived Eritrea.

The regime in Ethiopia tried to align and malign Eritrea by associating her with many issues and countries with lies. That failed because as time went on countries and the world understood why these lies are fabricated continuously.


Eritrea’s diplomatic challenges emanate from one source and that is the US. On every turn Eritrea was forced to climb mountains to achieve small diplomatic progress. Overtime however, the people of Eritrea have managed to make significant diplomatic strides. The cold war and the unipolar world the US maneuvered ill-served the people of Eritrea for decades. To be shunned by the US means denial of rights as a nation and ultimately death and, only handful nations’ mange to escape it. Eritrea’s brilliance is therefore a unique development on international affairs.

The problem with the US led unipolar world was that nations were often forced to work against their national interests. However, competing international powers and their geopolitical interests is leading nations away from US led agendas into focusing on their own interests

Eritrea’s diplomatic achievements are therefore a fruit of the people’s dedication, hard-work and perseverance. Eritrea is amongst the most strategic places in the world. Eritrea is also endowed with riches that will sustain her for generations. To ensure a bright future Eritrea played it right and today finds herself in a position to rip the benefits. For most countries diplomacy is a matter of success or failure. For Eritrea however it is existential hence victory is a must. Eri-Plomacy!

Awet N-Hafsh

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Eritrea’s Diplomatic Victories at 24 Reviewed by Admin on 4:57 PM Rating: 5


  1. One thing which Issayas Afewrki is well known for is, his stubborn and zero diplomatic skills. The sad reality is that our people are paying the price of his failure. One good example was that the conflict with Djibouti. He refused to tell to Eritrea people about the conflict and refused to accept international mediation even though there was an actual war in the border. The Ethiopia together with Djibouti used this opportunity to ask UN to sanction Eritrea. What did Issqyas do, he still refused to accept the conflict. As he has proved before, he qccepterd the conflict and mediation from Qatar once Eritrea was sanctioned. Eri-Tv as usual forgot to inform our people the existence of troops from Qatar until today. The same zero diplomacy was seen in the Somalia case where Issayas recognised the Somali government once the sanction was in place.If he was a CEO of a company he would have been fired by the shareholders for a long time ago. So please save us from this propoganda about diplomacy, that is something we complwtly lack with the current leadership. Issayas always chose to stand in losers side, and our people pay the price for his failures

  2. Please save us from your propaganda of shit talk

  3. My opinion regarding the above topic is different of the two commentators below. This is because the situation in Eritrea is explicitly written above and our argument should concentrate on the issue of diplomacy. Principle and stand vis a vis implementation of the planned stragegic policy by prioritizing the need of the people and the capacity of the country is at its place. So I personally admire the step taken so far towards developing the country. Self- reliance is the most unaccepted principle by others but for us it has helped us to reach this level. Dependency has not developed most Africans. The stand of PIA is correct in this sense because if that was the case 30 years war was not necessary. Through time those who were against Eritrea are becoming friends. I
    hope the Ethiopian government would come to its sense because from the
    media we hear there are a lot of controversial issues which the gov't
    has to to listen to its people instead of depending on the westerners. So I feel our patience has resulted to
    good relatiionship other than Ethiopia.

    My concern is always how well the people at home are aware of priorities of the gov't and the issues posted on this website. We have the opportunity to discuss about our country. I always think of the 18 months NS if it is practiced. Are the youngs aware of this? I feel if this is practical students would aspire to serve the limited time only and would be encouraged to concentrate on their studies and plan for their future. Parents would also be relieved.

  4. I can smell a dead rat a mile away ya Ugum waHid.

  5. Eritrea never kneels down to any one, any body and at any time. Here it is ERitrea shining brighter for all to see.Here is is ERitrea moving to the Promised Land without compromising her freedom and dignity. Here is Eritrea teaching the Africans to stand up for their dignity. Sovereign ERitrea in every respect, be it economicaly, politicaly, and socially is standing tall and proud for all follow. Stay around, for the Africans have to come to Eritrea if Africa is to free, sovereign and independent in very respect of nation building. Africans have yet to liberate themselves again and they can do it the ERitrean way. Self Reliance is the Eritrea way and that is the way of Wedi Afom Beri, the Lion of Nacfa, does it.

    Shaping the future of Eritrea the Shaebia is the way ERitrea travels. Eritrea to be reduced to a "neocolony" in the 21st Century at that? That is insult to Eritreans. To expect Eritrea to be the next African neocolony , that should be the day!

    Long Live Wedi Afom Beri and Long Live Shaebia.

    By the way, I am Shaebia from my head to my toe!

  6. This is not real HIDROM... try again LOL


  8. You are mistaking, the real Lion of Nakfa´s are Petros Solomon, Ogbe etc, Issyas is an office rats who never led a battle :). He was and still is the Hyena of Nakfa. Mention a single battle which he participated if you have any clue.

  9. Your assignment of the day to read and study is the history of "Benedict Arnold", if you have the brains to understand it.

  10. Wedi Mai Telamit, what brought you here? I thought by now you are packing to head back to Dedebit. From what I hear, your Weyane are surrounded by Ethiopians where ever they land.

    Wedi Mai Telamit, you are in the wrong place.

  11. Navigating the Eritrean ship of state in this turbulent times requires the Wisdom of Solomon. The high caliber Eritrean leadership, as a product of the long protracted armed struggle and experience, is more than capable of guiding the Eritrean ship of sate away from the eye of the storm.
    It's bestowed with wisdom, experience, sophistication, gusto and nerves made of steel.
    A correct foreign policy is reflection of the internal dynamics of a nation. Thus, Eritrea, a united, democratic, progressive, resilient, dynamic, assertive and self reliant nation with democratic governance and social justice as the foundations of its national development principles is certain to have foreign policy based on creating a safe neighbourhood with national sovereignty, independence and borders respected, mutual respect and shared responsibility practised and where truth and honesty reigns supreme and lies and deceit, double talk and back stabbing and mindless diplomatic niceties are avoided.
    For those that are in a coma reminding them that there is one and one interest group in Eritrea and that is the Eritrean people. All polices dealing with domestic or international affairs are drafted with the best interest of the Eritrean people at heart.

    The world is taking notice. Eritrea is showing the world that the old ways of doing business is over. The master slave type of arrangements are things of the past. These lofty ideals and principles are giving our enemies nightmares and sleepless nights and are accusing the Eritrean Promised Land as a bad example of good behaviour.

    If history is our guide, the Eritrean camel always marches unfazed by the incessant barking of mad dogs i.e. the Eritrean enemies, detractors and traitors. Stopping the Eritrean revolutionary train is easier said than done.


  13. Yes, Eritrea will become the capital city of the world, D.C, the diplomatic center of Brussels or the African diplomatic city of Addis Ababa just because you said so. I wish we had a lot of people as pragmatic as you are as empty handed as your Eritrea. Diplomacy is the last thing Eritrean's known for. They can't walk an inch in the diplomatic arena without offending someone. I was looking at some Eritrean web sites where some article on diplomatic disagreements were posted. Some of the posting in Tesfa news are photo shopped to show how diplomacy works in Eritrea. The photo shopped picture shows one diplomat or head of state getting very angry on the other diplomat or head of state. I just found it very hilarious how diplomatic discord are perceived in Eritrea, with anger.

  14. There are certain things that kill you without breaking you, like suffocation. It is important to understand having democratic space in a country is one of the elements needed of not to be killed of suffocation. The first diplomatic obligation of a government is to talk to its people and respond to their request in non reprisal manner. This is diplomacy in its basic form in a nation and I don't see that happening in Eritrea.

  15. The saying is 'what doesn't break makes strong' not some nonsense about suffocation.....,,

  16. Look what your wonderful country has to offer to its citizens.

  17. Yerasish arerebish, amasiyiw becha! Doma chinkilat.

  18. reply to erty (and his likes)

    I commend AB for his very well written article and very well done! The article
    is full of well balanced and well articulated facts about ones beloved country and,
    I must say a true assessment and overview!

    erty => What a sad person who seems to be perturbed to hear good news about
    the hard working nation of Eritrea!
    The overwhelming majority of Eritreans clearly understand that, our unity,
    hard work, and self-reliance, are the guarantors of our independence and sustainable
    success in every sector. That is, Eritreans ourselves are the only ones who are
    best placed to determine and steer our path to development and prosperity! No phantom
    generous nation or good wisher can ever serve us on a plate!

    Yes Eritrea lives among Nations and therefore, need to have good relationship with all, but only feasible on the basis of mutual respect and equal footing!
    It is therefore, absurd to continuously criticize Eritrea for the frosty diplomatic
    relationship engineered by a super power and some of its close allies who maliciously
    and intentionally invest and work to destroy its very existence as a viable Nation.
    And, I whole heartedly say that, despite all their discriminatory actions, crimes, imposed hardship and sufferings which resulted in a loss of tens of thousands Eritrean lives (which can be directly attributed to so called democratic nations foreign policies), Eritrea has always been and is for good diplomatic relationship with all Nations!
    To argue otherwise is a bare faced lie and a desperate last ditch attempt of the outdated, slanderous and subjugating negative campaign against our good hearted and generous people! Just refer to unadulterated history to establish truth! Do not just rely on the culprit’s propaganda machines!
    In contrast, Eritrea’s leadership, well seasoned and civilized are wise enough not to be dictated by blood thirsty vampires / monsters who present themselves as the righteous/honest brokers. The enemy of Eritrea / Eritrean people, no doubt will continue to make our hurdles very difficult by manufacturing tones of deceit and lies. However, small and poor as a Nation, our stance and resolve in truth will always outshine/outdo them in the end!
    Do you care about truth and equal justice to all? Check the following link
    (“THE WAR YOU DO NOT SEE” by John Pilger):

  19. Is there a possibility that the 2% will still be forbidden in the US or other countries. The UN sanctions also mentioned that, but it seems they have dropped that for now. Will they leave us alone and mind their own business in the near future.

  20. Abraham AfeworkiJune 2, 2015 at 5:34 AM

    Eritrea's diplomatic victories at 24? Let's analyze this by examining the IGAD episode. Eritrea withdrew from IGAD by own (naive) choice. After the one-man regime realized the mistake they made they tried to get back into IGAD. Question to you guys. Did Eritrea succeed in getting back (reactivating) into IGAD, or is it still standing on the sidelines? Sounds more like diplomatic defeat than victory to me, but hey I guess halhal will see things different.

  21. You guys are now helpless. The doomsdays that was going to happen during the election did not take place Ethiopia. The election took place without any security beach. It is interesting to see who is in control in the region when it comes to security, Eritrea spread trouble, Ethiopia controls it. What is next in your play that you've to destabilize Ethiopia. Is sending every rebel group in the name of liberation to attack Ethiopia? .Go for it trouble maker Eritrea

  22. Where is the result Erty?

  23. I think this Ethiopia and Eritrea issues is overblown out o proportion. One thing I understand from Eritrean web sites is Eritrea can not be heard or mentioned without Ethiopia is in the mix. What that means is Eritrea has no voice, visibility without Ethiopia in any issue. All Eritrean websites post at least one article a day about Ethiopia. three forth of the articles on Eritrean web sites are about Ethiopia. The Ethiopian people have already formed their opinion about Ethiopia. All these articles are just space filling and audience gathering gimmicks. Most of the articles do not even make sense . like this article that talks about Eritrea's diplomatic achievement where the rest of the world understands Eritrea as the North Korea of Africa. As far as Ethiopia-Eritrea relation goes Ethiopia has a decision to make at this juncture to make peace or war with Eritrea, there shouldn't be anything else in between. This impasse has been going to long. Ethiopia should not let this problem linger any more. If Ethiopia is afraid of to make war Eritrea and understands what the cost of war is ethiopia should go ahead and make peace with Eritrea, there is no shame on that.

  24. Go ahead but you will cry just wait for the dooms day for this good country and good people. Unfortunately ruled by barbarians with their wild rules..

    I am
    sorry to say this but if the next Eritrean generation retains the down to earth
    level of maturity, civility, prudence, wisdom and realism like what you have
    showed in your reaction, then I am really afraid and concerned about our future,……,
    whether we will be the real owners of our country.

  25. I am sorry to say this but if the next Eritrean generation retains the down to earth
    level of maturity, civility, prudence, wisdom and realism like what you have
    showed in your reaction, then I am really afraid and concerned about our future,……,
    whether we will be the real owners of our country.

  26. It means you are proud as Eritrea has become...a country with almost 50% exiled population loosing hopes and aspirations due to a classical dictatorship in the 21st
    century. Probably the future home for retired Eritreans. Look even emeritus
    professors moved there just to spend few of their dying ages


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