The government of Eritrea on Thursday blamed Ethiopia for its delay in being accepted to rejoin the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Eritrean Ambassador to Kenya Beyene Russom told a press conference in Nairobi that Ethiopia was fighting his country’s efforts to join IGAD.
“Mainly it was Ethiopia that prevented Eritrea from coming back. It accused Eritrea of doing this and doing that… it was accusing the country of wrong doing and the other countries were listening to what it was saying,” he said.
While he said that his country was ready to embrace peace with all countries, he regretted that Eritrea was not getting along with Ethiopia.
However he said Eritrea was ready to dialogue but on condition that Ethiopia withdraws its troops from Eritrea.
“All countries should see us as strategic friends. But you know we are still not in good terms with Ethiopia because of the border conflict. They should have withdrawn their forces, we have told the world including Ethiopia we can start our diplomatic relations even tomorrow when they withdraw their troops,” he said.
Russom further said Eritrea will hold talks with the United Nations to have sanctions against his country and citizens dropped, “we are speaking to the United Nations, even the elements and the mere reasons for putting sanctions were not there from the very beginning; there is no proof!”
He said since Eritrea was alleged to be funding al Shabaab militia, it had led to the international community to enforce sanctions against Eritrea.
On Monday, President Mwai Kibaki appealed to Eritrea to support regional peace before it rejoins IGAD announcing that Kenya wants to work with peace-oriented nations.
In a press statement, Kibaki welcomed Eritrea’s decision to make a comeback to IGAD and also appealed for its support from other countries.
Kibaki also promised Eritrea that the government will look at the issue of Eritrean nationals not getting visas to travel to Kenya.