• President Afwerki supported Russia's invasion of Ukraine, accusing the West of using Eastern European countries to fight Russia.
• Eritrea has been one of the key Russian supporters at the UN, abstaining to vote for the UN resolution condemning Russia's actions against Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov concluded his tour of Africa to seek support on the continent in Eritrea on Friday.
Lavrov held bilateral talks with Eritrea President Isaias Afwerki on the dynamics of the war in Ukraine and enhancement of bilateral ties in energy, mining, information technology, education and health, according to President Afwerki’s adviser and Minister of Information Yemane Meskel.
Eritrea has been under United Nations economic sanctions for more than 10 years, and in 2021 the US imposed further restrictions on its military and other Eritrea-based individuals and entities.
The US accused Eritrea of playing a role in the Tigray war in Ethiopia.
In the joint address, the Eritrea Foreign Minister launched a scathing attack against the US and the West.
In his speech in Massawa, Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed said the war in Ukraine is “a byproduct of the reckless policy of hegemony and containment that they have pursued in the past decades”.
“The sad fact is that Ukraine is both a pretext and victim of this policy,” Mohammed said.
He added that “the few of the few” had opted to dwell on policies of chaos and turmoil, thus plunging humanity into avoidable catastrophe.
Mohammed also accused the West of being proponents of greed and domination that have inculcated turmoil, immense human suffering and pillage for centuries.
“Furthermore, the multiple wars of aggression they unleashed in Asia, Africa and Latin America after the Second World War in pursuit of, and to achieve, their perceived 'strategic interests' are contemporaneous realities that are fresh in our collective minds,” he said, adding that the crisis is an attempt to “resuscitate the defunct uni-polar world order of dominance”.
Minister Lavrov, who was concluding his second tour of African countries in six months— South Africa, Eswatini and Angola — said after a meeting with President Afwerki, Russia is ready to meet Eritrea's needs in maintaining its defence capabilities.
Lavrov further said they discussed ways of strengthening economic ties between the countries.
It was agreed the two sides would hold regular consultations between the ministries of Economy of Russia and Eritrea.
President Afwerki supported Russia's invasion of Ukraine, accusing the West of using Eastern European countries to fight Russia.
Eritrea has been one of the key Russian supporters at the UN, abstaining to vote for the UN resolution condemning Russia's actions against Ukraine.
The long-serving Russian Foreign minister started the four-state African tour — he skipped Botswana — on Monday in South Africa, just before US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen arrived.
There, he was received by his counterpart Naledi Pandor, who defended South Africa’s relations with Russia, noting that their wish is for the “conflict in Ukraine will soon be brought to a peaceful end through diplomacy and negotiation”.
Pandor said the talks would help "strengthen the already good relations" between the two countries, describing Russia as a "valued partner".
Lavrov also defended joint naval drills with China and South Africa —Bric members — saying he did not want “any scandals”. Minister Pandor termed the naval drills “natural course of relations” with “friends”.
In Luanda, Lavrov, held talks with President Joao Lourenco and his Angolan counterpart Tete Antonio.
He pledged Russia's “mutual firm commitment to development in all areas" with Angola, and that Moscow will do this “despite illegal pressures from the United States and its allies”.
He said was there was "unprecedented pressure of Western countries on the developing states of Asia, Africa and Latin America".
Angola, however, maintained a neutral position, calling for restraint in the use of "increasingly sophisticated equipment [that] might lead to a greater involvement of the different parties to the conflict, and eventually lead to a third world war”.
In October last year, Angola voted in favour of a UN resolution condemning the annexation of Ukrainian territory by Russia.
During his tour of Africa in July 202, Lavrov visited Uganda, Ethiopia, Egypt and the DRC in an attempt to strengthen ties with Africa amidst the Russia-Ukraine war.
Soon after that visit, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken toured three countries — South Africa, DRC and Rwanda — to counter Russia's influence.
Mid-January, Germany and France foreign ministers made a two-day visit to Ethiopia, calling for cooperation between Europe and African states to respond to world crises, including the war in Ukraine.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said they wanted Africa to show solidarity with Europe against Russia's war in Ukraine.
"In these times, when our peaceful order in Europe has been attacked by the Russian war of aggression, we, as Europeans, need the support of our friends and partners worldwide," Baerbock said at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa.
France's Catherine Colonna said it was important to that "everyone tells the aggressor that he must stop his aggression".
"We have common interests, and we have expectations of our African friends, and we have shared them with you," Minister Colonna said.
Many African states have remained neutral on the Russia's invasion largely due to historical relations with Russia on one hand, and ties with the West.