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15 Jun, 2023 12:08

Eritrea rejoins East African bloc

Asmara left the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in 2007 amid regional disputes
Eritrea rejoins East African bloc

Eritrea has announced rejoining the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Eastern Africa (IGAD). The nation left the bloc in 2007 after numerous disagreements, particularly Ethiopia's decision to deploy troops to Somalia to fight the militant al-Shabaab group.

“Eritrea resumed its activity in IGAD and took its seat at the 14th Ordinary Summit in Djibouti,” Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Meskel tweeted on Monday.

Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 and has been ruled by its president, Isaias Afwerki, ever since. A border conflict with Ethiopia in 1998 sparked a two-year war and tensions that continued for most of the next two decades. Eritrea has been subject to US and EU sanctions over alleged human rights abuses.

In 2018, a peace deal was signed with Ethiopia, formally ending the war. Diplomatic ties with Somalia were also restored and the country developed relations with Kenya, which announced this year that it would open an embassy in Asmara.

Political economist Yared Zeleke told RT on Thursday that Eritrea is seeking new allies due to Western hostility.

“The Americans haven’t changed their position on Eritrea, there is a bit of hostility on all fronts,” Zeleke said. The return of Eritrea to IGAD indicates that it is “looking for a new alliance, a new diplomatic offensive to make more friends,” he concluded.

With Eritrea’s return, the East African bloc now consists of eight member states: Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda.