Eritrea president slams US ‘subterfuges’
The speech, delivered in the capital Asmara on May 24, criticised the “vain subterfuges” and “relentless provocations” of foreign powers seeking to undermine Eritrea as it celebrated the 24th anniversary of its independence and of President Isaias Afwerki’s iron-fisted rule.
“Certain powers prompted by greed and domination and spearheaded by the United States continue to harass us and derail our efforts of nation-building in a serene and stable environment,” Afwerki told a stadium full of people.
He went on to blame the US for decades of conflicts in a host of countries including Egypt, Libya and Yemen, for “instigating tensions in the Nile Basin for hidden agendas” and for “incubating and deploying terrorist organisations with different labels to add chaos and destruction to chaos and destruction”.
Afwerki concluded his speech with a rousing call of, “Glory to our Martyrs who made independence a reality! Victory to the Masses!”
North Korea — another secretive, militarised and autocratic country to which Eritrea is commonly compared — was listed among the countries that offered anniversary congratulations, alongside the Vatican and others.
The isolationist Red Sea dictatorship languishes at the bottom of world freedom indices and is one of the largest contributors to the exodus of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
It is a crisis Eritrea has in the past blamed on a CIA conspiracy and human rights activists.
Tens of thousands of young Eritreans brave razor wire, minefields and armed border guards to sneak out of the country every year in order to escape repression and avoid conscripted military service that goes on for years.
Eritrea broke away from Ethiopia in 1991 after a brutal 30-year independence struggle and has since maintained a war footing, wary of the enemies it sees on all sides.