Eritrea, Russia Foreign Ministers Meets in Sochi

Senior Eritrean delegation led by FM Osman visiting Russia
Discussions will focus on the prospects of increasing Russian investments, trade including joint projects in the energy sector, development of mineral deposits, and construction of infrastructure facilities in the port city of Assab.


Senior Eritrean delegation composed Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and Presidential Advisor Yemane Gebrab met and held talks today with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Sochi.

During their three-day working visit, the Eritrean delegation will discuss on the development of bilateral relations and foreign policy cooperations that are necessary to build up the trade and economic component of their relation.

At today’s joint press conference, Foreign Minister Lavrov stated that Russia-Eritrea bilateral ties are on track and set to flourish. He further stated that Russia is ready and working to expand trade and investment ties with Eritrea.

Foreign Minister Osman on his part underlines the importance Eritrea attaches to bilateral ties of cooperation with Russia.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters that Moscow believes it is necessary to start removing the sanctions imposed on Eritrea by the UN Security Council due to the signs of improvement in the situation in the Horn of Africa.

“Amid profound positive changes in the Horn of Africa over the past few years, especially between Eritrea and Ethiopia, we believe it is necessary, on the practical level, to begin removing those sanctions that were imposed on Eritrea by the UN Security Council,” he noted.

He also expressed Russia’s support and delight on the Peace Agreement reached between Eritrea and Ethiopian, and the positive developments in the region.

“We welcomed the process of normalizing the Eritrean-Ethiopian relations that began in June, welcomed the resumption of direct contacts between the parties, which made it possible to move towards removing all mutual concerns. We noted that this became possible thanks to the goodwill of the two countries’ leaders,” adds FM Lavrov.

“We are confident that the normalization of ties meets the fundamental interests of the peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia and will contribute to efforts to create an atmosphere of good-neighborliness between the two countries, becoming an important factor for strengthening stability and security in the Horn of Africa.”

FM Sergey Lavrov presented the Medal of the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation to FM Osman for his contribution to the advancement of relations between the two countries and for international diplomacy.

“We also support positive changes in relations between Eritrea and Somalia and would like relations between Djibouti and Eritrea to overcome the crisis as well. We will provide every assistance to normalizing the atmosphere throughout the Horn of Africa,” Lavrov stressed.

The political stabilization in the region will make it possible to create excellent opportunities for deepening regional economic integration.

“We will promote such processes and are ready to encourage Russian companies to take part in promising multilateral projects, such as the creation of regional transport corridors, cross-border pipelines, and others,” the Russian minister added.

Earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates announced it will finance a new oil and gas pipeline that extends from the Eritrean port city of Assab to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

There is also plan to revamp an old Soviet-era refinery at Assab port.

Existing strong relationships with both Eritrea and Ethiopia made Russian companies the favorite for the proposed pipeline project.

Russia and Eritrea are also agreed to set up a logistics center at the Eritrean port of Assab besides reaching an understanding for Russia to invest in the development of potash at the Colluli potash project in Eritrea.

Russia’s Ketina Mining, a subsidiary of Gazprombank (GPB) (RTS: GZPR), has been granted an exploration license in 2014 to explore base metals in Molki subzone, Gash Barka region of Eritrea.

This year, Eritrea and Russia will celebrate their 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

“We have achieved a very high level of political cooperation and mutual understanding during this quarter of a century,” said FM Lavrov.

The Eritrean delegation was the first among high-ranking foreign representatives to visit Crimea after the peninsula’s reunification with the Russian Federation, in 2014.

Since then, Eritrea’s ties with Crimea have been developing actively.

A high-powered delegation of Eritrea also attended the Yalta International Economic Forum (YIEF) and the Friends of Crimea Forum in April of this year.