Afwerki defends Russia and China in Eritrea Independence Day speech

President Isaias Afwerki, authoritarian ruler of Eritrea, defended both Russia and China while holding the West responsible for the situation in Ukraine, during a speech marking the nation’s independence day from the Horn of Africa.

Afwerki, in office since 1991 – a term that places him among Africa’s longest-serving leaders – has drawn parallels to his own country’s fight against colonialism and modern-day criticism of his repressive government, while advocating for African independence and sovereignty.

He placed the current battle over Ukraine in the context of the Cold War and its end, which coincided with Eritrean independence at a time when “Western domination elites misinterpreted the end of the Cold War as a “historic opportunity”.

“They embarked on a policy of ‘containment’ of Russia, which was then seen as their main rival in a broad strategic framework,” Afwerki said. “In tactical terms, Eastern European countries near Russian borders have been chosen as vectors for the ‘containment policy’.”

Ukraine and other Eastern bloc countries have been the victims of this post-war world order, he said, citing strategic political tools such as sanctions from the United States and the European Union, to which his own country had long been subject.

“The domination elites did not target only Russia,” Afwerki continued. “At the same time, they have embarked on the containment of China not only by instrumentalizing Taiwan and Hong Kong but also by incubating various alliances and rivalries throughout Asia. The danger this represents will be no less, if not much greater, than what happened with Russia.

Eritrea would remain among African countries willing to host a Russian military base, especially given its location along the Red Sea and the critical Suez shipping route for Russian oil.

In March, Eritrea was one of five countries to vote against a United Nations resolution that called on Russia to immediately end its invasion of Ukraine.

Image: Government of Eritrea

Comments are closed.