CrisisWatch Eritrea

Unchanged Situation

African Union (AU) confirmed Eritrea is controlling territory in Ethiopia’s Tigray region; Asmara strengthened ties with Moscow and Beijing.

AU confirmed Eritrean presence in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. AU monitoring team 4 April confirmed Eritrean control over part of Zalambessa town in Ethiopia’s East Tigray Zone, though Eritrea continued to reject claims it is occupying Ethiopian territory. Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s dismantling of Amhara-established administrations in Ethiopia’s north – part of its plan to tackle Tigray-Amhara territorial dispute – could strain relations with Eritrea given alleged ties between Amhara nationalist militias known as Fano (who have been fighting insurgency in Ethiopia) and Asmara (see Ethiopia). 

Eritrea bolstered ties with Russia and China. Russian Pacific fleet late March-early April visited Massawa port, marking growing defence partnership between two countries; Russian delegation led by deputy commander-in-chief of Russian navy, Vice Admiral Vladimir Kasatonov, 1 April met Eritrean army officials, 5 April met President Isaias Afwerki to discuss enhancing bilateral ties. Isaias 7 April met China’s Special Envoy to Horn, Xue Bing, and discussed expansion of economic cooperation.

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