APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) Asmara says it will not take exception to a statement attributable to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmad about possibly reclaiming access to the Red Sea as an existential matter.
PM Abiy caused a stir in his own country after stating that Ethiopia has “historical, geographical, ethnic and economic” grounds to reclaim access to the sea which ended when Eritrea seceded from the rest of the country in the early 1990s.
After months of speculations that the Ethiopian Prime Minister is framing a Red Sea agenda, it became clear when he gathered his party and government officials and told them that access to the Red Sea was an existential matter for his country, the largest landlocked country in Africa.
His statement triggered extensive conversation on social media both from Eritreans and Ethiopian activists.
While speculations are rife, the overwhelming majority tend to think that the Prime Minister is bringing the Red Sea agenda as a strategy to divert public attention from multiple detrimental crises his government has been grappling with.
Ethiopians in the country and those abroad have criticised his Red Sea statement, calling it thoughtless and irresponsible.
The Eritrean government on Monday responded to the situation with only a few lines issued from its Ministry of Information which advised concerned bodies not to be provoked by it.
The statement did not mention PM Abiy Ahmed nor made a reference to his statement about reclaiming the Red Sea.
”Discourses – both actual and presumed – on water, access to the sea, and related topics floated in the recent times are numerous and excessive indeed. The affair has perplexed all concerned observers. The government of Eritrea repeatedly reiterates that it will not, as ever, be drawn into such alleys and platforms” said the statement.
Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a bitter border war in the early 2000s and were technically at war until PM Ahmed became prime minister and reached out to President Isaias Afwerki.
The two countries had turned from bitter foes to allies during a recent conflict between the Ethiopian federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Eritrean forces had infiltrated Tigray and reportedly fought side by side with Ethiopian federal troops against TPLF fighters.