Friday, May 18, 2012

Eritrea: Diplomatic Services Suspended, Washington And Asmara More Distant

May 17, 2012




The United States government announced the suspension of all consular and diplomatic services in Eritrea, in what appears a further deterioration in relations between the two countries. In a messagereleased by the US Embassy in Asmara, it indicates that it “can provide only emergency services to US citizens in Eritrea”, announcing the suspension of services for the release of visas.
According to the local media, officially the decision was necessary after Eritrean authorities refused to guarantee a major number of visas for US diplomatic staff in the country. The government of Asmara restricted the circulation of foreign diplomats only to the capital, imposing the request of a permit for any mission outside Asmara.
The already shaky relations with the US – main ally of Addis Ababa, enemy in a long war, first for liberation and then over their borders after obtaining independence in 1993 – recently deteriorated further. The government of President Isais Afewerki last March accused the US of backing an Ethiopian military flash-attack against what Addis Ababa defined as “enemy posts” in Eritrean territory.

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