US team heads to Eritrea for talks

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A US delegation led by the deputy assistant secretary for African Affairs, Mr Donald Yamamato, was Monday expected in Eritrea for rare diplomatic talks between the two countries.

According to the State Department, Mr Yamamato was expected to hold discussions with the state officials and resident diplomats in Asmara.

The relationship between Eritrea and the US has been strained for nearly two decades.

Security interests

Mr Yamamoto’s delegation was also expected to visit Djibouti and Ethiopia later this week.

The US and Asmara talks would most likely focus on the regional security interests and the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Ethiopia, a strong US ally in the fight against the Somali Al Shabaab militants, fought a bloody war with Eritrea over a border dispute.

The relationship between Eritrea and US further deteriorated after the 2009 UN sanctions against Asmara for an alleged involvement in arming the Al-Shabaab.

Eritrea also refused to accept deportees from the US following President Donald Trump’s new immigration rules late last year. Consequently, the US degraded its embassy services in Asmara and suspended visa issuance for Eritrean nationals.

The Yamamato delegation’s discussions were expected to open diplomatic channel to end Eritrea’s years of isolation and facilitate further dialogue.

http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke

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