President Isaias Afwerki has conducted a three day official visit to Uganda upon the invitation of President Yoweri Museveni. Upon his visit to Uganda, President Isaias conducted an interview with local media outlets. Experts follows:
What message does your official visit to Uganda communicate to the peoples of the Horn region and the world at large?
Some of the issues I discussed with the Ugandan leader in a series of talks during my three-day official visit to the country were inexpressibly of utmost significance. Diversionary issues aside, we have managed to focus on the most fundamental questions and constructive talking points. Both countries need to first bring their perspectives into line prior to the implementation of joint programs. Despite possibly varying versions, our bilateral talks were thus of vital importance not only for both nations but also for the entire region. Generally speaking, I would say the opportunity was more than constructive, provided that the talks were not meant for us to keep the issues under wraps, but rather they need to be discussed openly by everyone belonging to or interested in the Horn region.
Under which modus operandi are the agreements concluded between Eritrea and Uganda expected to come into effect?
The good aspect of the accords concluded is that they do not go beyond the bounds of the overall regional and global context. If we are dealing with bilateral issues, we have to first study the areas of trade and investment sector by sector. This will enable us in our trade relations benefit from the business ventures and industries in Uganda. Although discussed in depth, the blueprint but holds a summary of the plans ahead. With the geographical barrier in mind, we have to lay enabling infrastructure facilities to facilitate the shipment of goods from Mombasa to Massawa or Assab ports and back to Mombasa. Effective network needs to be in place in order for Eritrean business community members and prospective Ugandan investors to capitalize on the opportunities in both nations. This comprehensive agreements should be refined into realistic projects for Eritrea to benefit not only from Uganda but also from the business opportunities in Kenya, North and South Sudan as well as other countries in the region. The goodwill is quite indisputable; even the vision on the major issues is practically mature. Needless to say, this is a great leap forward. The regional status quo, however, should always come into the spotlight. Bilateral and multilateral issues that could be implemented within the regional context were also deliberated. Both countries share similar values and views in common as regards respective realities and the status quo in the Horn of Africa. There was no inflection point whatsoever when it comes to the long-term understanding reached and the accords concluded between the two countries that the task of enriching those in-depth deliberations through creating optimum mechanisms is an assignment yet to be undertaken without delay.
President Yoweri Moseveni was heard on a number of occasions highly regarding People’s Front’s long-cherished values. He even went on to explain that Eritrea’s alleged involvement in Somalia simply emanates from lack of knowledge of the People’s Front’s values. How could such account influence Moseveni’s foreign policy?
Such a notion has been provoking any sensible mind. Lies manufactured to distort the world’s imagination have time and again been taking center stage unchallenged in the media zone. As a result, every reasoning person was questioning on what grounds these long-established values could indeed be eroded at once. How come a people who has been according central place to this treasured culture reverse course in the first place? President Moseveni, for instance, was recently contacted by some quarters who told him that the Government of Eritrea’s ship carrying vehicles with tools was hijacked in the Indian Ocean on its way from North Korea to Eritrea. No wonder that he was poking around for my opinion cautious of the information. Where exactly is the ship? Under which circumstance, when and where was the ship hijacked? Are there hard evidences of its whereabouts with authentic documents? Where are those crews onboard? This situation puts us all in the picture that we need to exert efforts to challenge future fabrications. It is an undeniable fact that Inefficient communication in the past has played its role in giving way to the trumped-up allegations.
There are a number of wishful thinkers who have been painting your visit to Uganda as a face-saving diplomacy on issues correlated with the sanctions and IGAD among many others. What is your response to these politically naïve statements?
Those papers have also published so akin to what you are asking that the visit was meant to plead with President Moseveni and Uganda. By all accounts, most of the questions posed during the press conference were at simplest focused on ‘Eritrea’s endeavors to save her neck.’ According to the journalists in the forum, the official visit is but a last-ditch effort by Eritrea to steer clear of sanctions. This is tantamount to the wishful thinking of cynicism. None of the question in the course of the press conference was geared towards positive outcome of such an official visit. Issues dealing with transforming through constructive engagement the existing state of affairs in the entire Horn region, as well as strengthening bilateral relations were totally disregarded. The disinformation and cynicism is merely reflected on attempts resorted to analyzing wishful thoughts. The propensity to presenting rumors in the grapevine as a reality only manifests that all the deliberate distortion of information intended to tarnish Eritrea’s image amply demonstrates the level of frustration by anti-Eritrean forces. However short the occasion was, such an occasion is of paramount importance to challenge the ploys of propaganda and to a certain extent undo the damage.