From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Jun 22 2009 - 06:55:14 EDT
Isaias Invites Obama to Engage the Horn
By David Arnold
Eritrean president Isaias Afewerki welcomes President Barack Obama`s
message of change and suggested a constructive engagement with the
volatile Horn of Africa region.
"The Obama administration could mend and change the past by coming up
with a constructive role in the region," the president told Tewelde
Tesfagabir of VOA'S Tigrigna service in an interview on Friday. He said
direct contact is more effective than shuttle diplomacy.
In response to critics who say Eritrea is intolerant to criticism,
Isaias said it is the westerners who are intolerant."I am not the
intolerant one," he said.The Eritrean government speaks with direct,
honest and steadfast words, he said. "The west misunderstands this and
that is wrong and that is what we want to be corrected."
The president, whose nation is celebrating 18 years of independence this
year, made a break with recent domestic policies by inviting VOA and
other international media to come to Asmara and interview him.Eritrea
has in recent years chosen policies that had shut off public debate,
discouraged diplomatic engagement with western nations and cut off
development aid from the United States and other donors. Isaias warned
in this interview that the whole of Africa is becoming marginalized in
the fast-globalizing world, but Eritrea wants to be part of the process
of global engagement.
Tune in to the Tigrigna service on Thursday for part 2 of VOA's
exclusive interview with President Isaias as he addresses his
government's role in Somalia.
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