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Eritrea Joins East African Bloc After A Gap Of 16 Years

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In its most recent effort to re-establish links with its neighbours, Eritrea has rejoined an East African regional organisation that it abandoned 16 years prior.

To protest Ethiopian troops’ involvement into Somalia to drive out its Islamist leadership, the Asmara government left the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Eastern Africa (IGAD) in 2007.

“Eritrea resumed its activity in IGAD and took its seat at the 14th Ordinary Summit in Djibouti,” tweeted information minister Yemane Meskel on Twitter late on Monday following the session. Although he did not elaborate, he stated that Eritrea wished to join the other IGAD members and contribute to regional peace and security.

Since attaining independence from Ethiopia in 1993, Isaias Afwerki has been in charge of Eritrea, which fought a deadly border war with Ethiopia from 1998 to 2000 and has had disagreements with its neighbours.

Additionally, it is subject to EU and US penalties for allegedly violating human rights. It has, however, made efforts in recent years to mend regional connections.

It formally ended the state of war that had existed since the border conflict by signing a peace agreement with Ethiopia in 2018, and it also reestablished diplomatic connections with Somalia and normalised relations with Djibouti.

It has also improved ties with Kenya, which earlier this year announced plans to establish an embassy there.

Human rights organisations claim that Afwerki’s government is still oppressive today and cite the country’s ongoing forced military conscription as evidence.

Additionally, Eritrea earned criticism from the world community for alleged crimes committed by its soldiers in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia between 2020 and 2022 when they battled alongside Ethiopian forces against Tigrayan forces.

These claims have been refuted by Eritrea.

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