Amid Pandemic, President Isaias Visits Ethiopia

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President Isaias Afwerki departed to Ethiopia for a two-day summit with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed despite the coronavirus situation in both countries. Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and presidential advisor Yemane Ghebreab accompanied the President.

PM Abiy Ahmed received President Isaias and his delegation upon arrival at Bole International Airport.

At a luncheon hosted by President Sahlework, the two leaders briefly discussed bilateral cooperation and regional issues.

Former Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, and President of the Oromia Region Shimeles Abdissa also attended the luncheon.

President Isaias Afwerki and his delegation also visited some development sites in Addis Abeba.

According to Yemane G. Meskel, the Eritrean Minister of Information and government spokesperson, the two leaders are expected to discuss bilateral ties, fight against COVId-19, fight against locust infestation, and other regional matters of mutual importance.

On his twitter page, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed confirms the two leaders will be exchanging “bilateral and regional issues as well as the challenges the two countries are currently facing as a global community.”

The COVID-19 cases in both countries are relatively small. While Ethiopia announced a state of emergency to control the spread of the pandemic, Eritrea entirely bans flights and imposed a statewide stay-at-home order.

As of May 3rd, the COVID-19 case file for each country shows Ethiopia with 133 confirmed cases, 75 recoveries, and 3 deaths, while Eritrea with only 39 confirmed cases, 26 recoveries, and 0 deaths.

Political observers, however, attached President Isaias’ abrupt visit in the midst of pandemic with the looming ‘constitutional crisis’ in Ethiopia following the postponement of the general election ‘until further notice’.

It was originally scheduled to take place sometime in August this year.

This is the fifth time for President Isaias to visit Ethiopia since the two countries signed the historic peace agreement in 2018. His last visit was in late December 2019.