8 Feb. (EUROPA PRESS) –
The President of Eritrea, Isaias Afewerki, began an official visit to Kenya this Wednesday, as part of an infrequent trip by the president abroad that coincides with regional efforts to try to materialize a peace process in Ethiopia, where Asmara it has supported the operations of the Ethiopian Army against the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF).
The 77-year-old president was received in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, by the Kenyan Foreign Minister, Alfred Mutua. The Eritrean Information Minister, Yemane Gebremeskel, has stated through his account on the social network Twitter that Afewerki will meet with his Kenyan counterpart, William Ruto, to address “the improvement of bilateral ties and regional issues of mutual interest”.
For its part, Mutua has published several photographs of the reception and has detailed that the Eritrean president “is in the country for a two-day official visit in which he will meet with President William Ruto for bilateral meetings”, without giving further information. details about the agenda.
Both leaders pledged in January to promote peace and security in the region, at a time when Ethiopia and the TPLF are in the process of consolidating peace after the agreement signed in November. It contemplates the end of military operations, the disarmament of the Tigrayan group and the withdrawal from Tigray of troops that do not belong to the Ethiopian Army, including Eritreans.
The conflict in Tigray erupted in November 2020 after an attack by the TPLF against the main Army base, located in Mekelle, after which the Government of Abiy Ahmed ordered an offensive against the group. The outbreak of the fighting came after months of tensions at the political and administrative level, including the TPLF’s refusal to recognize an electoral postponement and its decision to hold regional elections on the sidelines of Addis Ababa.
The TPLF accuses Abiy of stoking tensions since he came to power in April 2018, when he became the first Oromo to take office. Until then, the TPLF had been the dominant force within the coalition that has ruled Ethiopia since 1991, the ethnically based Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The group opposed Abiy’s reforms, which it viewed as an attempt to undermine his influence.