Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki has asked Qatar to mediate his long-standing feud with “arch-rival” Ethiopia. This message was communicated to the new Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalgn, by Qatar, while the Ethiopian prime minister was conducting a state visit.
Isaias Afwerki has offered to attend mediation talks without any pre-conditions.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Hailemariam Desalegn told his interviewer that he would be willing to travel to Eritrea to hold face-to-face talks with Isaias Afwerki and that this was a long-standing Ethiopian policy: “My predecessor Meles Zenawi had asked for more than 50 times even to go to Asmara and negotiate with Mister Isaias Afwerki,” he said.
Qatar, which is showing greater interest in the region, is weary of the growing Turkish influence in the Horn of Africa. Recently, the Turkish foreign minister visited Asmara at the invitation of Isaias Afwerki, who wanted him to mediate between the new Somali regime and the Eritrean regime. But while in Asmara, Isaias also informed the Turkish foreign minister that he is working to normalize relations with Ethiopia and that he had asked Qatar to mediate.
Isaias Afwerki is facing internal crisis represented by acute shortage of electricity, water and basic food items including milk throughout Eritrea. This has exacerbated the crisis within the military where morale has hit rock bottom due to the confusing command and control hierarchy–where Isaias bypasses his direct reports to communicate directly with more junior officers–mass desertion which has hollowed out the forces, inadequate salaries and rampant corruption within the officer class.
Read more at Awate.com – Eritrean Strongman Asks Qatar To Mediate Dispute With Ethiopia (Dec. 13, 2012)