Three years ago, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on appointment of Azim Yarakhmedov as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the State of Eritrea. In his interview to the Newsletter of the Russian Embassy in Eritrea on the eve of the Diplomat’s Day in Russia the Ambassador summed up the results of his work, spoke about Russian foreign policy priorities, stressed the need to remove international sanctions against Eritrea and noted that all friends of Eritrea should assist the country in achieving its noble goals.
As you know, on February 10 we celebrate the Diplomat’s Day in Russia – a professional holiday of all employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. The history of the Russian diplomatic service goes back centuries, and the invaluable experience of our predecessors allows today’s diplomats to meet the challenges faced by the Russia’s Foreign Ministry.
The Ambassadorial Department created at the end of the 16th century consisted of only 30 employees, at the end of the 17th century there were about 100 employees. Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs consists of several thousand employees of the Central Office in Moscow, more than 200 foreign offices around the world (Embassies, Consulates etc.) and about 40 regional offices in the regions of the Russian Federation, which provide significant assistance in the development of foreign economic and humanitarian ties of the regions as well as coordinate their international activities with Moscow.
It is no secret that in recent years the work of Russian diplomats to defend the legitimate interests of the country and its citizens has become complicated and tense. In my opinion, this is due to the fact that the Russian Federation not only “got up off its knees” after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but also “stood upright” strengthening its international positions and the country’s prestige.
The steps undertaken by the Government of the Russian Federation to protect the interests of the country and its citizens are not always to the liking of some of our partners, and many of them feel a considerable fear. The measures taken by the President of Russia and the Russian Government for the country’s socioeconomic development have become fruitful. Russia has completely modernized its armed forces, restored the economy, reformed state institutions and relations between the its regions and Federal Government as well as embarked on social development programs. The people of Russia felt the changes and gave full support to the Government and the President of Russia. This created fertile ground for the further development of the country and implementation of its foreign policy.
Under these conditions, the Russian Foreign Ministry carried out its work and implemented Russia’s foreign policy which purpose is to meet the needs of the country and its citizens. Russia’s active participation in the fights against international terrorism and assistance in defending the legitimate interests of the Syrian people are related to this. Guided by the same principles, Russia in engaged in the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine and conflicts in other regions of the world.
Russia clearly takes the assumed international obligations, implicitly respects the international law, establishes its relations with partners only on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit, and does not interfere in the internal affairs of other states. Russia is pursuing the same policy with regard to Eritrea.
Russian-Eritrean relations have been developing dynamically in recent years. Together with the Government of Eritrea, we are looking for common ground on issues of mutual interests, identifying new areas of our bilateral cooperation.
Since 2015 Russia and Eritrea have restores the most important area of cooperation. I mean the training of highly qualified Eritrean personnel in Russian universities. For two years more than 50 Eritrean student went to study in Russia. After graduation, they all will return to their homeland and will work in the blessing of their country. I am sure they will become a bridge for the further development of our relations. In this work, we offer the Eritrean side to choose the training priorities because only Eritrea knows what skills are needed and what areas face a shortage of qualified personnel. In 2018, we plan to increase the quota allocated by the Russian Government to Eritrea. We will try to meet the needs of Asmara in qualified workers.
Today we are actively discussing the prospects for Russian-Eritrean cooperation in the trade and economic spheres, trying to stipulate the whole range of Russian goods in which Eritrea is interested for the development of its own economy. In 2017, Russian company "KAMAZ" signed an agreement with Eritrean partners to deliver a batch of trucks that will be used for the development of the country's mining sector. There is also a number of agreements in other areas. Already, we are considering the possibilities of attracting Russian investments to participate in development projects in various sectors of the Eritrean economy. I am convinced that this work will eventually succeed, because both Russia and Eritrea are interested in strengthening bilateral relations on the basis of mutual benefit.
Such activation of Russian-Eritrean cooperation simultaneously in several directions became possible in many respects due to the fact that the Eritrean foreign policy and its positions on major international problems coincided with the Russian position. All of the above allows us today to cooperate closely with Eritrean partners on international foras, to act basing on similar standpoints, and to be co-authors of the UN resolutions.
Russia stands for the earliest possible lifting of sanctions from Eritrea. I am convinced that the current sanctions should be reviewed and lifted in the shortest term. This position is confirmed by the conclusions of the UN Monitoring Group, which for several years in its reports keeps writing that over the years of its work it has not been able to find any evidence and signs of Eritrea's cooperation with the terrorist group Al-Shabab operating in Somalia. I believe that further preservation of anti-Eritrean sanctions seriously damages the country's social and economic development, its population, and also hinders the creation and improvement of democratic institutions in Eritrea.
Russia is also actively advocating for an early resolution of the Eritrean-Ethiopian conflict. We are confident that Eritrea and Ethiopia, as two neighboring countries with a related culture, common traditions and mentality, are able to solve existing problems. I believe that the solution of the Eritrean-Ethiopian conflict will be beneficial for both sides and will give a great impetus to the development of trade, economic and good-neighborly relations between the states. Russia is also taking similar position on the settlement of contentious issues between Eritrea and Djibouti.
I am sure that all countries that see themselves as friends of Eritrea should provide all possible assistance to the Eritrean Government for the solution of the tasks that the country faces. Eritrea is one of the youngest states in the world, which, as my conversations with the leadership of the country show, wants to create a socially protected country with strong democratic institutions for its population. It seems to me that this goal is very correct and dignified; therefore, all of us should help this proud and freedom-loving people in achieving its goals.