Egyptian-Eritrean Relationship
Monday, February 4, 2019
Egyptian-Eritrean Relationship

Intro

Egypt and Eritrea are tied by deeply-rooted historical relations. Egypt had a major role in support of Eritrea’s revolution till the country gained independence in 1993. Following independence, Egypt has worked on building a solid basis to develop future relations with Eritrea and promote cooperation between the two countries.

Political relations

After Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993, Egypt established diplomatic relations with Asmara. When Ethiopia-Eritrea border war erupted in 1998, Egyptian diplomacy played a prominent role in easing tension and restoring peace between the two sides. Since Eritrea’s independence, President Isaias Afwerki visited Egypt more than 16 times, reiterating the strong bond between the two nations. In September 2014, President Isaias Afwerki visited Egypt and discussed with President el-Sisi latest developments in Africa, particularly efforts aimed at countering terrorism, extremism and piracy. The two leaders agreed on the need for bolstering cooperation among the African countries to realize peace and security in the continent. In November 2016, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi received Eritrean President in Cairo. The two leaders discussed means of bolstering bilateral relations between the two countries in all spheres. They also discussed developments in the Horn of Africa region and means of combating terrorism and extremism. President el-Sisi reiterated the need for activating the Joint Committee between the two countries to promote cooperation in all sectors. In January 2018, President Afwerki visited Egypt and held constructive talks with President el-Sisi. During that visit, the Egyptian President highlighted the importance of implementing joint ventures with the Eritrean side, plus promoting technical support programs offered by the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development, affiliated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Volume of Trade between the two countries     

Egyptian exports to Eritrea hit USD 47.79 million, including flour, paintings, cement, and dairy products; while Eritrea’s imports stand at USD 5.6 million, mostly agricultural products and roasted coffee. Thus, the trade balance is in favor of Egypt at USD 42 million.

Cooperation in the medical field

  • In light of the strategic bilateral relations between Egypt and Eritrea, the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development dispatched a medical convoy to Eritrea in the field of ophthalmology in 2017 in coordination with the Egyptian Ministry of Health. The Egyptian medical convoy performed tens of operations at the Eye Hospital in Asmara.
  • Earlier, in 2016 the Egyptian Ministry of Health dispatched a medical convoy to Eritrea consisting of eight doctors in different specializations and an engineer for the maintenance of medical equipment. During a ten-day stay in Asmara, the medical convoy visited three hospitals and performed 105 operations and check-ups for more than 1200 patients, in addition to fixing medical equipment.

Mutual visits

  • 13th of September, 2018: Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry visited Eritrea to convey a message from President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to the Eritrean President on means of pushing forward the distinguished relations between the two countries in different spheres, in addition to discussing regional issues of mutual interest.
  • 5th of June, 2017: Eritrean Foreign Minister Othman Saleh and Yamani Gebreab, Advisor to the Eritrean President visited Cairo and met with the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. The two sides discussed means of promoting bilateral relations in all fields and following up of the current cooperation programs.
  • 3rd of March, 2017: A high-level Eritrean delegation headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Othman Saleh visited Egypt and met with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry. The two sides discussed regional issues of mutual interest, including security in the Red Sea, latest developments in Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan.
  • 7th of May 2015: Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry visited Eritrea and met with Eritrean Minister of Foreign Affairs Othman Saleh. The ministers discussed the situation in the Horn of Africa and joint cooperation in combating terrorism and latest developments in the Middle East.