STATEMENT OF H.E. OSMAN SALEH. MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE STATE OF ERITREA. AT THE VALLETTA SUMMIT ON MIGRATION
Excellencies Heads of State and Government, Excellencies Heads of Delegation,
For over a decade, the issue of migration has featured prominently on the joint agenda of Africa and Europe. This Valletta Summit, however, is quite different from previous such gatherings, as there is now a palpable sense of urgency and determination both in Africa and Europe, a greater understanding on the pressing need for a genuine partnership to address the vital, complex and multi-faceted challenge of migration.
In the protracted preparations for this Summit, and despite divergences in emphasis, a near unanimity of views has emerged on a number of key themes. These are the absolute need to address root causes, the primacy of finding solutions at the source of the problem and the imperative of shared responsibility. It has indeed become crystal clear that migration cannot be properly understood, let alone effectively addressed, in isolation from effectively negotiating the global cross-currents that have a massive impact on our world. Key among these are the cycles of violent conflicts, recurring and unjustified armed interventions, the accelerating rate of global socio-economic inequality, the persistence of acute poverty in the midst of abundant wealth as well as the failure of nation• building on the basis of the dignity, equality and fundamental rights of citizens.
Over the past few years, my country, Eritrea, has faced a serious challenge of illegal migration, human trafficking and the wilful exploitation of the suffering of Eritrean youth for strategic and political purposes. A very bleak picture of the country, which is in total variance with the reality, has been deliberately painted. Whatever their motivations, European countries have followed policies that have fed irregular migration, harmed Eritrea as well the interests of the destination countries themselves.
Today, and thanks to sustained engagement between Eritrea and Europe, and the visit of scores of European delegations to the country, a clearer and more accurate picture of the reality is emerging. Many have begun to appreciate that Eritrea is a nation of rich and heroic history, with a strategic location on the Southern Red Sea and blessed with significant human and natural resources. In spite of the lack of international understanding and support and in the face of hostilities and pressures, including the continued violation of the Algiers Agreement, which the European Union signed as one of the witnesses, Eritrea continues to enjoy peace, stability, security and social harmony. It has successfully kept at bay radicalization, extremism and terrorism It plays a constructive role for peace and security in the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa regions.
In the critical area of socio-economic development and because of an unfavourable regional and international environment as well as myriad challenges and obstacles, Eritrea has faced a difficult decade and half and the quality of life of its people has been negatively affected. Nevertheless, it has made slow but steady progress in health and education and achieved most of the Millennium Development Goals. Thanks to sustained investment on human resources development, agriculture and infrastructure, the lean years of sluggish expansion are giving way to a new phase of sustained economic growth, which promises tangible improvement in peoples’ lives. We, in Eritrea, are confident that these developments, combined with a raft of measures that the government is taking in the economic, social and political domains that are focused on providing education, training, skills and opportunities for our youth, will not only enable us to overcome the challenge of irregular migration but to build a solid basis for a just and prosperous society.
In conclusion, I wish to assure you that, in keeping with their proud history and political tradition, the people and government of Eritrea have taken primary responsibility to address their challenges.
I wish also to convey to Your Excellencies that in keeping with one of the key themes of this timely and important Valletta Summit, that is Shared Responsibility, the people and government of Eritrea actively seek and warmly welcome partnership with the European Union and its member and associated states.
I Thank You.