Eritrea's Diplomatic Restraint Amid Sea Access Provocations

Eritrea maintains neutrality as PM Abiy Ahmed raises sea access discussions. Their poised response emphasizes peace and non-engagement and calls for calm

Eritrea's Diplomatic Restraint Amid Sea Access Provocations

Amanuel Biedemariam October 16, 2023

In response to the sea access provocation by PM Abiy Ahmed Ali, the Government of Eritrea has adopted a poised and measured stance. The message conveys a sense of restraint, non-engagement, and a commitment to fostering calm in the midst of potentially provocative discourse. This is articulated in the official press statement issued by the Ministry of Information:

“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. In the event, the Government of Eritrea repeatedly reiterates that it will not, as ever, be drawn into such alleys and platforms.  The GOE further urges all concerned not to be provoked by these events.”

The key components:

Recognition of Ongoing Discussions: The Eritrean government acknowledges the prevalence of conversations surrounding water and sea access, highlighting these discussions' substantial and pervasive nature. This acknowledgment reflects an understanding of the significance and sensitivity of these topics.

Expressing Perplexity and Concern: By employing the term "perplexed," the government conveys its unease and apprehension about the nature and intensity of these discourses. For various reasons, Eritrea's perspective characterizes these discussions as intricate and potentially problematic.

Non-Participation and Calm: In response, the government of Eritrea makes it clear that they will not engage in these discourses, emphasizing their intention not to be "drawn into such alleys and platforms." This position communicates a commitment to non-engage, signifying Eritrea’s decision to abstain from commenting on Abiy Ahmed’s provocations, and it also encourages all to do the same.

Advocating for Restraint: The GOE encourages all relevant parties not to be provoked by these events. The press statement is a plea for composure and an aspiration to uphold peace and stability in the face of potentially provocative or contentious discussions. Given the provocativeness of Abiy Ahmed's message, the central idea here is to avoid falling into the provocations he has laid out.

In summary, the response maintains a composed and diplomatic demeanor, emphasizing a commitment to neutrality, peace, and stability. This aligns with Eritrea's established position of not engaging in public discussions regarding water access and maritime matters. The core message is unequivocal: Eritrea's aim is to remain tranquil.

Eritrea's stance is commendable. It's widely recognized that the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea harbor no hostile intentions towards each other. Over the past five years, they have demonstrated mutual affection, understanding, and a strong desire for peaceful coexistence rooted in the principles of sovereignty and mutual respect for territorial integrity.

However, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali's intentions are viewed as questionable and counterproductive to the region's well-being. His actions are motivated by political ambitions and centered on maintaining his power, using wedge issues that could incite chaos and civil unrest, affecting millions in the region. This approach threatens to perpetuate conflicts and misery indefinitely. The rejection of such tactics by the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia underscores their shared aspiration for lasting peace.

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