Ever since freedom fighters of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front had marched victoriously into Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, on 24th May 1991, after having dealt the final and decisive blow to the Derg army at Dekemare a few days earlier, the month of May has held a special place in the hearts of Eritreans.
Looking at the history of the wider region, the month of May is a month where significant events have happened. Eighty-four years ago on 5th May (Cinque Maggio) 1936, Italian troops had captured Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Exactly five years later in 1941 on the same day, the Ethiopian leader, Emperor Haileselasse returned to the city after the Italians had been ousted. It was also in May 1991, that the brutal military ruler of Ethiopia, Mengistu Hailemariam, was ousted from power with the help of Eritrean forces.
On 3rd May 2020, President Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea, went to Ethiopia to discuss with his Ethiopian counterpart, Prime Minster Dr. Abiy Ahmed, the current Corona virus pandemic and the swarm of locusts that is threatening the food supply of the entire Horn of Africa The meeting is in line with the long held belief of the Eritrean president, that the huge challenges faced by the Horn of Africa, and Africa as whole, can only be overcome by a concerted effort of member countries to work together.
He has called for developing co-operation in all sectors with the view to fight underdevelopment and poverty, which have blighted the region and the continent for far to long.
President Isaias Afewerki finds in Prime Minster Dr. Abiy Ahmed, what he has been unable to find for the past twenty years in the region— a partner that shares his views on combating the issues that Eritrea, Ethiopia, and other African countries are facing.
With the threat of the global Corona pandemic and its economic impact, being the foremost concern of all nations in the World at this time and in particular African nations, co-operation and having a unified approach to resolving the issues at hand, is of paramount importance.
Today, countries in the Horn of Africa and East Africa, in addition to the threat of the Corona pandemic, are facing an existential threat from the huge locust infestation in the region. In these times, no country can be an island: everyone must pull in the same direction.
The president’s visit, is an indication of how serious the threats are and the need to work together to overcome the challenges we face.
No doubt, come 24 May, we Eritreans will not only be joyfully celebrating our Independence, but will be looking towards a very bright future— together with our partners in the region.
London 3rd May 2020
By Embassy Media