BY BILLION TEMESGHEN | ERITREA PROFILE
Eritrea and Italy share a long history that dates back over a century. Recently, the Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, paid a one day visit to Eritrea upon the invitation of Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki. On the occasion, Eritrea’s Presidential Advisor, Yemane Ghebreab, gave a media briefing about the historic meeting between the Eritrean and Italian leaders.
Today’s Q & A provides a recap.
Q : What was the Italian Prime Minister’s visit all about?
This meeting is a historic event that marks the strengthening of bilateral ties between Eritrea and Italy. The relationship between Eritreans and Italians is longstanding. Today, the leaders have agreed to work jointly to reinforce these historic and cultural relations.
The leaders agreed on the fact that the recent bilateral agreements between Eritrea and Ethiopia, as well as the trilateral agreements of cooperation between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, are important for the Horn of Africa and the Republic of Italy.
Q : Did the leaders discuss the possibility for future economic cooperation?
Yes they did. There are prospects for economic and political cooperation between Eritrea and Italy. Eritrea and Italy will work together toward more robust cooperation within the economic, commercial, education, and cultural sectors. Furthermore, the two leaders also agreed to soon establish a commission to ensure the implementation and smooth progress of the agreements.
Q : What does the future hold for Eritrea and Italy?
Following Prime Minister Conte’s visit to Eritrea, a delegation will conduct an official visit to Eritrea. Additionally, in the coming month another delegation from Italy is expected to pay a visit to Eritrea. As I noted previously, there will be strong bilateral cooperation in numerous economic and cultural sectors.
Q : What about the issue of the sanctions unjustly imposed on Eritrea? Did the leaders talk about it?
No they did not. That was not the primary focus of the meeting. However, they did extensively discuss the development of bilateral relations and other regional and global developments of joint significance to Eritrea and Italy.
That being said, it should be noted that Italy has been a strong advocate for the lifting of the unjust sanctions. Nevertheless, what matters most is our internal peace and stability. Eritrea has long been working beyond its borders for regional peace, security, and stability. The unfolding dynamics of the Horn attest to the regional cooperation that Eritrea and other countries of Africa are working for.
Regarding sanctions, Eritrea is not begging. We are demanding for fundamental and basic rights. The sanctions have to be lifted, both on moral and legal grounds. But if not, it should be understood that they are not holding back Eritrea from achieving its goals, as the State of Eritrea has attained its developmental objectives regardless. The sisterly countries of the Horn of Africa are now set to attain greater achievements through strengthening regional integration and cooperation. This will be significant to the region, as well as to Italy.