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Ghost Entourage Accompanies Isaias Afwerki to Abu Dhabi

On January 2, 2017, Isaias Afwerki, the Eritrean president, arrived in Abu Dhabi, and held a meeting with the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Prince Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

According to UAE news reports, the Abu Dhabi meeting “focused on ways of co-operation in political, economic and developmental spheres within the framework of the Emirati-Eritrean leaderships’ commitment to advance bilateral ties to new heights.”

The meeting was held at the Crown Prince’s palace and was attended by Emarati officials, including Sheikh Saif Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Sheikhk Surour Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Sheikh Nahyan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation, Sheikh Khalid Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Chairman of the Board of Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care & Special Needs (ZHO), Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, and a number of Sheikhs and senior officials.

It is not known yet if any Eritrean official accompanied Isaias in his trip. However, Isaias doesn’t allow the names of officials accompanying him in his visits to be announced.

Websites affiliated to the Eritrean ruling party didn’t mention any name of Eritrean officials.

A diplomat stationed in Abu Dhabi said, “the Eritrean government has a strange system of diplomatic protocol, the names of officials who accompany the president is not made public, and during the meetings, the officials do not say a word but sit silently.”

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  • ‘Gheteb

    Bits And Bytes: Among The Exquisite Upshots Of The Emirati Eritrean Relation


    I have come to learn through my usual means — reading from what is publicly available information — that the UAE and Eritrea have agreed to co-operate on many or different sectors after the recent visit of PIA to the UAE.

    As it was bruited by GulfNews, January 3, 2017, that ” Mohammad and Eritrean president discuss bilateral ties.Cooperation between the two nations likely in many spheres”.

    Chief among the spheres or sectors that the two countries agreed upon to co-operate is for the UAE to undertake the construction of three international Air Ports in Eritrea. The three air ports will be constructed in:

    (1) Southern Red Sea Region, probably in Assab
    (2) Gash Barka region, most likely in Tessenie
    (3) Zoba Debub, I am unable to hazard a guess about the locale of the would be air port here

    I think this makes sense to me because of the following:

    And, speaking of the “ghost entourage”, I think a recent video that I happened upon may shade some light about this issue, the interaction between the two leaders and much more. You be the judge.

    I hope we may be able to gain an apercu when we hear straight from the horse mouth during the upcoming new year PIA interview with the local media.

  • Millennium

    Hello all:

    My wish for Eritrea and its people in 2017

    • It is my wish for the sanctions to be lifted
    • It is my wish for Ethiopia to pull out of Badme
    • It is my wish for a sense of normalcy to prevail
    • It is my wish to see the problem with Ethiopia find a lasting solution
    • It is my wish that we see some positive political development, regardless how small it is
    • It is my wish for national service in Eritrean to be rolled back to 18 moths
    • It is my wish for PFDJ to convene the Front congress
    • It is my wish for the government to institute some semblance of judicial order
    • It is my wish for the government to exercise due process of law
    • It is my wish for the government to succeed in their effort to secure food security for the country
    • It is my wish that there is an increased inflow of foreign direct investment
    • It is my wish civil organizations like organizations for youth, workers or that of women are given sufficient space to act in the interest of their constituents freely
    • It is my wish that there is enough progress to the extent that those advocating for revolution with a morbid sense of urgency are seriously discouraged
    • It is my wish that the call for change of policy on the part of the US succeed
    • It is my wish that all of us concerned Eritreans have enough power to push the officials to make incremental changes in the right direction
    • It is my wish those burning with hate do not have too much power lest we meet the fate of Libya or Syria


  • Ismail AA

    Selam all,
    Today I was very happy. Not for anything surprisingly happy personal event, but when I followed young sara and jordan engaging. This forum is more and more proving its unique role among its peers (Eritrean web sites). I wish more of the young were to dominate this space than people like me from, the old generation.
    Keep it up sara and jordan, and invite more participants from your age group. I am sure the moderators of this forum will be more than happy hosting your engagements.

    • tes

      Dear Ismail AA,

      I love the culture of Tigrait speaking people, to be more precise, (My experience with the people whom I know well, Mensae). They respect their youth and give due time for listening and engagement. I saw among the youth the confidence they have and the way they express their ideas in a more fluent manner.

      I hope individuals like Mahmud Saleh will listen the grievances we have than trying to protect policies of PFDJ that is hurting us most. I hope these individuals will stop diffusing the propaganda that we are used to listen and watch throughout these 25 years that added values into our grievances (my fight with Mahmud Saleh is based on these two issues).

      If we have wise people like you, kind, passionate, and full of wisdom to convey our history without forgetting and provoking our current grievances, for sure youth engagement will be prevailing here in this website.

      When I talk with my friends, whom I expect their valuable inputs here in this forum, what they bring as an excuse is that most of the discussions here are full of tensions and extreme right and left. These two extreme political wings leaves no room for the lazy, hate-to-politics minded young generations.

      Most young people today are neither democrats not socialists. They are just thirsty folks from the actual issues that matters us most. And sadly, the young like to learn history without knowing how to apply history.

      let me stop here… as this is a suddenly popping up mid-day contemplation.

      Dear Ismail AA, I assure you, if people of your caliber are here, the youth will be around, be them active or passive. Lots of things are on the page to learn from when you drop few lines.

      If you are following, today, there are hundreds of blogs publishing superbe articles by young generation. One day, we will learn that we are not effectively using our resources and hopefully we will allign either with the already well established websites, like or unite together and create a strong websites.


      Just to provoke sara:

      This lady likes to engage but she has lost her compass. I don’t know if she is really a robot or like Trump, late night disqusian lady.

      • sara

        Dear Tes
        you know i had made my wish for 2017 in awate forum, i hope you read it. actually after i wrote my comment and clicked i found your name was still wondering why? but later on i thoght may be the moda saw Tes is a nick name not tesfabrhan that should have been as the other names i listed probably edited .
        did you provoke me? tes….

        • sara

          Dear moda
          Was trying to make a joke
          Yaenee. Ba mzah ma tes.
          Sorry you took that way.

    • sara

      Dear Mr. Ismail
      I am also happy to hear you say you are happy as it is a rare expression this days in our awate forum.
      additionally i also wants to thank you for your soft spot for young Eritreans in view of their ongoing situation at home and abroad. i want to assure you despite the usual stereotype you may hear about the young, most hold their eritreanness in high esteem.
      our history,culture,religion,sewra are kept,defended every day every where..despite all what is said and done against eritreans.
      just a little info about me– i am not that young as jordan- he may be like my youngest brother back in eritera.

      • Ismail AA

        Hayaki Allah sara,
        I am glad that you keep on engaging with us who scribble few things to share a bit of our experience with younger generation. sara, age does not matter that much; the spirit and will to inform and be informed are some of the best qualities one needs to be endowed with. I was elated when I read you exchanging information with jordan.
        That is we, the older generation, pray for. We understand too many lives, resources and careers had been wasted in the struggle to win a homeland for the generation that follow us because when I joined the armed struggle at the age 25 and fresh graduate from college, I never thought I would live to witness the declaration of the liberation of our homeland. It distress me, and many others like me, to live and witness those for whom the fathers and mothers had toiled and died to let inherited the homeland, rebuild and enjoy the bounties of their own land, leaving en mass to exile and join those of us still waiting to die and burried in alien lands.
        When I see young Eritreans engaging and caring for one another and collectively think about their precious homeland, I tell to myself, He, old man be sure; you won’t loss twice – young Eritrean shall rise up and return home to join those their compatriots inside and resurrect the dream: national unity, peace and work for progress in dignity.

    • Berhe Y

      Dear Ismail AA,

      I do agree on the reason that made you happy. However, I do not agree that, that you wish people like you from engaging. By your grace, you have proved beyond believe, at least to me, that Eritrea needs the wisdom and the experience you have acquired over the years to guide us to a brighter future, and what a future that will be.

      I really admire people like you, AH, SG, MS and others for your attitude, for your tolerance, for your wisdom. I think what we went wrong is, when a young con artist come to the picture and fulled everyone of us and took our dreams and our aspirations and turn them into night mare.

      As Paulos said, PFDJ is a ONE man show and we are not too far off from seeing him removed from the face of the earth.

      If anything we need to be prepared and ready when the devil is gone so we can save our country and our people.


      • Ismail AA

        Hi Berhe,
        Thank you for encouraging our young Eritreans. For us, the old gedli generation, they constitute the capital we have if our people’s collective endeavors won’t go in vain. They own both the present and the future; they must, therefore, learn, unite and win back their country from the scourge (dictatorship) that has been chasing them out of their country.

    • jordan

      Hey Ismail!
      You know how the phrase goes, with age comes wiseness and that’s something we definitely need more of. Also I think it’s amazing how we have living libraries (in this case, you) filled with knowledge about the past which I’m not able to get anywhere else. You see I have a huge language barrier between me and my grandparents, aside from them being housewives and never really done anything significant outside the house we can’t really talk with eachother. My Tigrinya is very limited and they can not speak another language.

      I would like to have a variation of all ages, but mostly of the people who can contribute most, people who are experienced etc. I am mostly here to learn but also to put my perspective into things.

      Also this comment made me very happy!

      • Ismail AA

        Dear jordan,

        Thank you for the feedback. You may not imagine the joy people like me, who had spent the entire productive part of our life striving to win back a free and sovereign homeland for our children and grand children, when we get chance to converse with intelligent, wise and forward looking young Eritreans like you. I get more pleasure from wise ideas the young you give than the exchanges I do with older compatriots though these are custodians of enormous wealth of information and experience I enjoy ideas from the young because they are future-oriented, and the productive world is wide open before them while ours, the older generation, is already behind us.

        Dear jordan, your parents love you and do love to talk to you in the language you understand. But the language barrier you mentioned came due to circumstances that forced them to leave their own homeland and came to a foreign country where they are raising you. Otherwise, they could have raised you among their own people back home. Since a child is a product of his environment, he grows up learning the language and culture of the milieu he lives in. The child will learn more from his age groups on streets of his living quarters and the school than his parents at home.

        For example, my mother tongue is not Tigrigna, but I do not remember when I learned to speak it because I learned both simultaneously. My mother told me that the first people I played with outside home in our village were Tigrigna speakers. That was why I needed no teacher or tutor. The same goes for children who are born and being raised in diaspora countries.

        But, intelligent young Eritreans like you strive to compensate what they missed in the way you are doing now. It is good that in your spare time from your studies you try to learn as much as possible about you the homeland of your parents, and relatives who may still be staying there. I am sure you will be soon proficient in Tigrigna so that you will benefit from precious information you parents have; they have a lot of things to tell you about the culture, history and many, many other things.
        Good luck, son.

  • Brhan

    Hello Awate,

    Such trip indicates
    1.That there is a hot topic that the two sides won’t like to make it public. The issue can be new and emerging issue as Qatar and Saudi Arabia are now engaging with Ethiopia, he wants to know what is his stake in this as Arab Emirates is a sister country to the two countries
    2. He is a dictator: and want to cover all the topics by himself.
    3. IA visits to Arab Emirates for medical reasons and unless his entourage are not sick , they do not have to accompany him.

    • Tensae

      Selam Brhan,,

      While indulging in speculations, how about adding the collection of rent. After all, when one is leasing a strategically critical real estate such as the port of Assab, one is expected to receive a handsome return in the form of money and goodies hence the involvement of so many ministers. As for the medical reasons, he did not need the attendance of so many people unless they are medical professionals. What do you think?

      • Brhan

        Hi Tensae,
        Well ..when you have a media controlled by government …you do not speculate but analyze based on your rational knowledge that you collected through learning politics and journalism and experience. If you are from at least one of the fields you will understand. If not do a comparative approach. i.e. see how news are covered in countries with free media.

        • Tensae

          Selam Brhan,

          Since we are discussing about the possible reasons for the president’s current visit and since you claim that the basis of your post is analysis and not speculation, would you please share any credible source(s) or for for than matter any rational explanation for any of your four “indicators”?


  • jordan

    Hey Everyone!

    Hmm.. weird that no one has commented on anything related to UAE. It doesn’t seem like a big interest here on Awate. I wonder why since it’s my biggest interest in possibly Future Allies of Eritrea.

    • Brhan

      Hello Awate,

      Such trip indicates
      1.That there is a hot topic that the two sides won’t like to make it public. The issue can be new and emerging issue as Qatar and Saudi Arabia are now engaging, he wants to know what is his stake in this as Arab Emirates is a sister country to the two countries
      2. He is a dictator: and want to cover all the topics by himself.
      3. IA visits to Arab Emirates for medical reasons and unless his entourage are not sick , they do not have to accompany him.

    • sara

      Dear Jordan,
      I read some where you are young eritrean /Swedish.I will talk to you as in your age group to fill the info gap many like you have.
      Eri relations 101
      Eritrea is in the horn of Africa, with the longest red sea coast on the western side. Eritrean by genealogy,history,geography are related to the Arab people in general and the people of Yemen
      In particular and specially to Emirates.
      In the recent history emirate has supported eritrean independence struggle and after independence has given economic, financial support, including educational

      • jordan

        Hey Sara.

        I know that many Eritreans lived and live in Arab countries, since both my parents have lived and my paternal grandfathres have lived in Saudi Arabia, but never any gulf countries. I’ve heard Lebanon was also pretty common back in the days.

        Genealogy, historically and geographically I think we’re related to Ethiopians and Somalis and even North Sudanese people more than arabs. Coastal Yemenis can be included aswell, even though they do look distinct from us (mostly).

        I was in Dubai actually the end of my vacation in Eritrea this summer and there were plenty of people of South Asian descent and I ate at a Ethiopian restaurant, is it really wise to link the number of expats in UAE to diplomatic relations between the two countries? It might be accurate but it must be for another reason. I don’t think any of those countries give citizenships to anyone except native arabs but mashallah they provide scholarships and that’s amazing!

        I’ve heard (and seen on Google Maps) that Emirates are building a navy base in Assab, it doesn’t seem to be a big topic either here on. I googled about it but If I remember correctly I didn’t find a article about it.

        Thanks Sara for the information but please don’t take my age in consideration when you talk with me. To me my age is just a number and wouldn’t be treated as anything else. Ciao.

        • sara

          What a coincidence, I also know Saudi Arabia and still visit from time to time and know many people. Were your patents in jeddah or RIYAD ? Remind them about places in RIYAD..umelhamam,nasrya,Malaz,and in jeddah eneiksh,ruwaise,sherefya,baghdadya etc…were eritreans used to live may be your parents stayed in this neighborhoods.
          As for eritreas relation to somalia,Sudan,Ethiopia as you said is close by, than to the Arab world…indeed Sudan, somal,Ethiopia,Djibouti are our neighbors and some how are related, but this I knew you know it and was trying to show you how we are connected to the Arab world. If you want easy references you can easily find it in sites like Wikipedia.
          Regarding your visit to Dubai, this time may be you were not lucky to meet your Falk’s and eat at eritrean restaurant, though it is OK to eat at Ethiopia’s restaurant as you were coming from Eritrea was good for a change.
          The so called air base naval base of Emirates in Eritrea was discussed here on another thread and you have to follow it for better perspective..on the thread click saay or gheteb comments .
          Give my regards to your parents, and tell them to visit and enjoy the sun and sand and of course the water in the gulf.

          • jordan

            Hey Sara!
            Yes my grandparents (and dad) did live in Riyadh for a pretty long time, but mostly my grandparents. My dad moved to Sweden at a early age. I guess it is true that we have some connections with the arab world and the coastals have even more connections, but it feels like we had more connections with them before the war.

            I did find an article about Warships in Asseb, but that’s just 1 when other news sites have mentioned alot more but inshallah in the future we might have some articles about it. Also, I so want to go back to Dubai (but I prefer massawa, haha)