There are reports that the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, is to visit Asmara to deliver an invitation to President Isaias in person.

Patrick Heinisch Tweets that: “Russia‘s FM Lavrov will not visit Botswana but instead travel to Eritrea, South African journalists confirmed. He is expected to personally invite President to the Russia-Africa Summit this year. Eritrea has consistently supported Russia diplomatically since the start of the Ukraine war.”

This is confirmed by the Russian media.

Here is a Google translation of the article.

“Russia and Eritrea, which Lavrov will visit for the first time, are connected not only by support in the UN General Assembly, but also by a complex history of relations during the Soviet period, because Moscow helped keep the country within Ethiopia, says researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Grigory Lukyanov.  “Now the basis of possible Russian-Eritrean cooperation is the prospect of Russia’s profitable economic penetration into the strategic region of the Horn of Africa as a potential “entry point” to African markets as a whole,” he notes.

Eritrea occupies a strategic position at the exit from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean – at the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.  Before gaining independence in 1991, after several decades of war, it was part of Ethiopia, allied to Moscow, and at that time, the only base in Africa for the Soviet Navy, Nokra, existed on the future Eritrean territory.  In 1999–2000  There was a conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea over the disputed territory around the city of Badme.  In 2018, the new Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed Ali, agreed to transfer the territory around Badme to Eritrea, for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize.

 The neighboring growing Ethiopian economy needs access to the Red Sea, lost after Eritrea gained independence, and with the mediation of Qatar, the two countries previously managed to sign reconciliation agreements, Lukyanov notes.  “Arab countries, primarily Qatar, a partner of the sanctioned Eritrea, as well as the UAE, which used the country as a base for conducting military operations in Yemen, are investing in it and the surrounding countries, they are interested in the emergence of new players in the Red Sea region, except for the United States, in particular  Russia and China (the latter already has a naval base in neighboring Djibouti),” says Lukyanov.”