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February 11, 2018

The Red Sea is becoming host to three distinct but loosely linked theatres of competition.

Workers stand as a ship unloads its shipment of grain at the Red Sea port of Hodeida, on December 24.    (Reuters)
Collision course? Workers stand as a ship unloads its shipment of grain at the Red Sea port of Hodeida, on December 24. (Reuters)

International interest in and around the Red Sea is intensifying, bringing increased geopolitical competition.

To the north, the Suez Canal links the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean and represents a crucial maritime trade route, transporting about 2.5% of global oil shipments, Global said.

At the other end, the Bab el Mandeb Strait — one of the world’s most important chokepoints, only 29km wide at its narrowest point — com­mands the southern entrance. It has taken on added geostrategic importance since the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen began in 2015.

Further south is the Horn of Africa, a hotbed of maritime piracy that prompted navies from around the world to form task forces to fight it.

The Red Sea’s enhanced geostrategic importance is driving unprecedented development and competition. Last year, China boosted its power projection capabilities by inaugurating a nearly $600 million naval base in Djibouti. The newest entrant is Turkey, which recently signed an agreement with Sudan to develop a port at Suakin.

China and Turkey will join the United States, which has operated its only full-fledged expeditionary military base on Africa, Camp Lemonnier, also in Djibouti, since 2002, as well as the French, Italian and Japanese forces.

Saudi Arabia has been running operations with coalition allies out of a base in Assab, Eritrea. The United Arab Emirates has a military presence in Yemeni Red Sea ports of Aden, Mokha and Mukalla as well as the island of Perim in Assab, and in Berbera in autonomous Somaliland. Last year, Turkey opened a military base in Somalia to train Somali forces.

The Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen has necessitated Arab Gulf countries locking off maritime supply routes to Houthi rebels and developing a supporting logistics network for operations. The Saudi-led coalition has been wary of providing Houthi rebels space to blockade or disrupt maritime traffic by mining and anti-ship weapons from the Yemeni coast, especially around the Bab el Mandeb.

Such burgeoning international interest in and around the Red Sea in the absence of a formal regional framework is straining the environment as a growing number of stakeholders seek to safeguard their interests by counterbalancing competitors. As such the Red Sea is becoming host to three distinct but loosely linked theatres of competition.

At the global level, the rise of China has been driving international competition. The Chinese want to safeguard freedom of navigation for key maritime trade routes and massive investments into Africa as part of its One Belt, One Road Initiative. The United States wants the regional security landscape preserved favourably, especially with Israel being in close proximity but also against terrorist threats and to counter a rising China and resurgent Russia.

The Saudi-led coalition is seeking to ease the socio-political instability that has been taking hold around Saudi Arabia’s periphery in good part by counterbalancing the regional footprint of Iran, which supports the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Finally, there is the north-east African geopolitical competition. Egypt has strained relations with Sudan, which Cairo charges with supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt opposes Sudan-backed Ethiopian plans for the Renaissance Dam under construction since 2011. When finished it will be Africa’s largest hydro-electric power station and generate much-needed electricity for Ethiopia and Sudan but reduce water flows to Egypt’s Nile.

Sudan, like Ethiopia, has been the subject of investments and support from Qatar. Egypt views a potential emerging pro-Muslim Brotherhood alliance between Turkey, Qatar and Sudan as an incubating threat. Sudan recalled its ambassador to Egypt following reports Egypt had dispatched troops to Eritrea, which borders Sudan, in response to the announcement of Turkey’s Suakin agreement.

Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea and Somalia all border the Red Sea or its entry points but a growing number of extra-regional powers are moving in swiftly to safeguard their interests.

Some analysts say the Red Sea basin was previously overlooked for its strategic value. Being part Middle East and part Africa, it was approached in a segmented way. The absence of a multilateral regional framework to manage affairs or disputes in the Red Sea is probably a key reason why outside powers have been able to formalise their own presence and, ironically, may be making its emergence even less likely.

Written By Sabahat Khan

Sabahat Khan is a senior analyst at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA).


Vol 59 No 3

Published 9th February 2018

Two Middle Eastern power blocs are buying friends and influence in the Horn but further damaging prospects for stability there

Saudi Arabia's and the United Arab Emirates' military dealmaking in the Horn of Africa is deepening rivalries in a region already overflowing with arms. This year, there has been a flurry of diplomatic missions and in-camera meetings at the African Union about tensions triggered by the growing foreign military presence in the Horn. Gulf states see the area bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden as their sphere of influence, militarily and commercially.

Map Copyright © Africa Confidential 2018

Now the conservative Gulf monarchies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, in alliance with Egypt, are boosting their presence in the Horn as part of their competition with Qatar and Turkey, whom they lambast as leading supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates in the region. The immediate reason for Saudi Arabia and the UAE striking a series of military cooperation deals with Eritrea, Djibouti, Somaliland and Somalia was to strengthen their position in the civil war across the Red Sea in Yemen

Saudi Arabia and the UAE's campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen has been going badly. They want to use bases in the Horn in support of their bid to take control of the Yemeni coastline, cut the rebels' supply lines, and intensify aerial and naval attacks from the south. Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan all have troops fighting alongside Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

Sudan, whose Islamist regime under President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir has been trying to suppress protests about rising food prices, is struggling to maintain functional relations with both the Saudi and Qatari blocs. Khartoum is in a serious dispute with Egypt over the Hala'ib Triangle, a 21,000-square-kilometre area both countries claim (AC Vol 54 No 25, Cape to Cairo, again).

In the 1990s, Egypt deployed its military in the triangle. There the issue might have rested, had not Cairo come to an agreement with Saudi Arabia to hand over two Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir (AC Vol 57 No 14, Red Sea wrangles). The agreement, which caused nationalist fury in Egypt, also redrew the maritime border between the two countries and unilaterally imposed Egyptian sovereignty over the Hala'ib Triangle. Sudan reacted in December last year, sending a letter to the United Nations rejecting the deal and recalling its ambassador to Cairo.

Eritrea win
Meanwhile, Ethiopia is racked by dissent among its nationalities, its leaders divided over how many of its thousands of detainees to set free. Eritrea is wrestling with an exodus of young people desperate to escape the notoriously repressive conscription regime. Into this morass have stepped Saudi Arabia and the UAE as they seek regional political, military and diplomatic support for their war in Yemen against the Houthis.

The biggest beneficiary of the conservative Gulf Arab alliance has been President Issayas Afewerki, who has gained an unexpected lifeline in return for providing logistical facilities. This is a blow to Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia, which had previously succeeded in isolating Eritrea and preventing it from meddling in their internal affairs, mainly through a UN arms embargo and a limited sanctions regime in place since 2009.

Asmara Airport has been renovated and the Eritrean port of Assab is now a military base leased to the Saudis and the UAE from which they prosecute their war in Yemen. The UAE has taken Yemeni prisoners to Assab to be interrogated and tortured, according to human rights activists. Eritreans in Yemen report the presence of up to 400 Eritrean troops fighting alongside the Saudi-led alliance.

It was against this background that Issayas went on a two-day visit to Egypt on 9-10 January. His talks with President Abdel Fattah el Sisi are reported to have centred on economic ties and what were described as 'regional and international topics of mutual importance'. Communiqués spoke of a mutual interest in a bilateral strategic partnership. The cementing of its relationship with Egypt is one of the biggest rewards for Asmara for accommodating the Gulf regimes.

For Egypt, there is potential profit in Asmara's fierce enmity with Ethiopia, whose Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is causing Cairo deep concern. The flow of the Nile into Egypt – source of nearly all its water – could be reduced, depending on how quickly Ethiopia decides to fill the 10.74 billion cubic-metre reservoir for the still uncompleted dam (AC Vol 58 No 3, Eritrea's unsettling alliance). Egypt is belatedly attempting to make up some of the expected deficit by commissioning a desalination plant, but this is expensive technology and it will take years to build.

Regional foil
Egypt has used Eritrea as a strategic counterbalance to Ethiopia since the 1950s. It hosted the Eritrean Liberation Movement, the precursor of the guerrilla groups which eventually expelled Ethiopia and established Eritrea as an independent state in 1993. In recent years Ethiopia has accused Eritrea of hosting rebels bent on attacking the GERD. In March 2017 Ethiopia said Eritrea was behind an unsuccessful attempt by the Benishangul Gumuz People's Liberation Movement to raid the dam. Eritrea denied the accusation. Later that year 150 members of the same group defected to Ethiopia and accused the Eritreans of instructing them to sabotage the dam.

On the day of the Issayas/El Sisi meeting, the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television news channel claimed that Egypt had 'sent hundreds of its troops to a UAE base in Eritrea, on the border with Sudan'. The channel said the deployment was a response to Turkey expanding its influence in the region by establishing a military base at the ancient Sudanese port of Suakin, even though the UAE base in Assab is 700 kilometres from Sudan as the crow flies, and much further by road.

A pro-Muslim Brotherhood media outlet, the London-based Middle East Monitor, went further, alleging that Egypt was training Eritreans at its military academy at Sawa, close to the Sudanese border. These reports were dismissed by the Eritrean Minister of Information, Yemane Gebremeskel, who tweeted: 'Al Jazeera News Channel seems to relish propagating false and preposterous news on Eritrea.' Al Jazeera is caught up in Doha's larger struggle with Saudi Arabia, which included scaling back the television channel among its 13 demands on Qatar when it launched its dispute with Doha last June.

Sudan is navigating these competing blocs. Omer believes he faces a threat from Eritrea. In late December, he declared a six-month state of emergency in the state of North Kordofan and in Kassala, which borders Eritrea. Early in January hundreds of Sudanese troops together with military vehicles and tanks were reported passing through the town of Kassala en route to the Eritrean border. The manoeuvres were said to be designed to counter smuggling and human trafficking; this is hardly plausible, since the border region has been used for such practices for decades, with officials on both sides implicated in the trade.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia tries to mitigate the threats it faces from a resurgent Eritrea and its heavyweight allies. Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn met the Sudan Armed Forces Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant-General Emad el Din Mustafa Adawi, on 8 January. Workneh Gebeyehu, Ethiopia's Foreign Minister, has held meetings with the UAE's Minister of State for International Cooperation, Reem bint Ibrahim al Hashimy, the outcome of which is not known. Hailemariam also went to Cairo on 17 January to meet the Egyptian President; the only topic publicly revealed to have been under discussion was the GERD. At a joint press conference on 18 January, El Sisi declared his 'profound concern' at the deadlock in the tripartite technical committee (also involving Sudan) studying the impact of the GERD, while he and Hailemariam signed several memoranda of understanding on other issues. On 29 January, on the sidelines of the African Union summit, the leaders of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan discussed ways of cooperating and pledged to find a peaceful and cooperative solution to the Nile dispute.

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullah Mohamed 'Farmajo', despite his country's close ties to Turkey and Qatar, tries to maintain good relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which help to finance his government. However, when the UAE signed an agreement with Somaliland to open a military base in Berbera, Somalia still protested. And so far, Farmajo shows no sign of bowing to Saudi Arabian pressure to break Somalia's ties with Qatar.

What is apparent is that there is a new scramble for influence along the Red Sea. If the reports of Egyptian troop deployments to Assab are confirmed, then Cairo will have joined Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the Eritrean port. At the same time, Turkey is adding Sudan's Suakin to its base in Somalia and a possible base in Djibouti. Could Egyptian and Turkish forces be drawn into the Yemeni civil war on opposite sides? The Horn of Africa is entering a dangerous phase.


መሪሕነት ዞባ ሰሜን ኣሜሪካ ስ.ዲ.ህ.ኤ. ቀዳም ዕለት 3 የካቲት 2018 ስሩዕ ኣኼባኡ ኣካይዱ።

ኣጀንዳ ኣኼባ ሰልፍና ንምዕባይን ንምሕያልን እንታይ ክንገብር ኣሎና ዝብል ኮይኑ ነዚ መደብ’ዚ ንምትግባር ብነፍስውከፍ ቤት ጽሕፈት ዝቐረበ ናይ ስራሕ መደብ ብዕምቆት ዘትዩሉ። ናይ ሓድሕድ ምክብባርን ህድኣትን ዝሰፈኖ ቦኽሪ ኣኼባ ዞባ ሽማግለ፡ መሰረታት ዞባና ንምስፋሕን ቁጠባዊ ሓይሉ ከምኡ’ውን ምስ ኣብ ዞባና ዝኸይድ ምንቅስቓስ ደለይቲ ፍትሒ ዝምድናኡ ከደልድልን ናይ ስራሕ መደባት ኣጽዲቑ። ዝሓንጸጾ መደባት ኣብ ግብሪ ንምውዓል መሪሕነት ዞባ ሽማግለ ብዕቱብ ክሰርሕ ምዃኑ ኣስሚሩሉ።

ክንዕወት ኢና!

ውድቀት ንምልካዊ ስርዓት!

ክብርን ዘልኣለማዊ ዝኽርን ንስዉኣት ኤርትራ!

ቤት ጽሕፈት ዜናን ባህልን

ዞባ ሰሜን ኣሜሪካ ሰ.ድ.ህ.ኤ.

3 የካቲት 2018



4 February 2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros of funding the widespread public campaign against the Israeli government’s plan to deport thousands of African migrants and asylum-seekers.

Netanyahu made his remarks during a meeting of ministers from his Likud party, according to Israel’s Channel 10. Netanyahu was reportedly responding to Science Minister Ofir Akunis’s claim that foreign governments were behind the anti-deportation campaigns.

“George Soros is also funding the protests,” Netanyahu responded. He reportedly added that former U.S. president Barack Obama “deported two million infiltrators and they didn’t say anything.”

Soros’s foundations have funded many left-wing not-for-profits that the Israeli government considers anti-Israel, like Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem. Soros, who is Jewish, has been the subject of conspiracy theories that many consider anti-Semitic in his native Hungary as well as the United By

Read more:

Israel’s government hopes to deport tens of thousands of what it describes as economic migrants or illegal immigrant “infiltrators,” largely originating from repressive regimes like Sudan and Eritrea, to another African country.

A wide-ranging array of Israeli and Diaspora Jewish groups have harshly criticized the plan, including pilots from the national airline El Al, the Anti-Defamation League, the Reform and Conservative movements of Judaism and the stars of the popular Israeli sketch comedy show “Eretz Nehederet.”

Netanyahu’s comments about Soros were criticized by Tamar Zandberg, a member of Knesset from the left-wing Meretz party.

“The prime minister’s decision to divert the heat to George Soros should concern all of us,” Zandberg said. “Over the past year, Hungary has seen an anti-Semitic campaign that was called out by the Foreign Ministry and has sparked fear in all Hungarian Jews. Netanyahu’s decision to inflame matters surrounding the anti-Semitic campaign and to connect himself with it is a direct continuation of the Likud’s dangerous ties with extreme right-wing parties in Europe.”

Contact Aiden Pink at or on Twitter, @aidenpink

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Calais migrants: Five shot in mass brawl

Friday, 02 February 2018 20:52 Written by

A migrant receives medical assistance by rescue workers following clashes near the ferry port in Calais, northern France, 01 February 2018. Image copyright EPA Image caption A man gets medical help from rescue workers after clashes in Calais, northern France

At least five migrants have been shot during a mass brawl between Afghans and Eritreans in the French port city of Calais, local officials say.

A 37-year-old Afghan man is suspected of firing shots at a queue for food handouts. Four Eritreans aged between 16 to 18 are in a critical condition.

Hundreds of migrants have converged on the area in an attempt to cross the Channel to the UK.

A sprawling camp known as the "Jungle" was dismantled near Calais in 2016.

Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said the violence had reached a new level and accused gangs that try to smuggle migrants to the UK of instigating the violence.

This is the worst outbreak of violence between migrants in Calais for months, and the use of firearms is a worrying escalation of the tensions, the BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris reports.

How did the violence unfold?

The cause is not yet clear but an initial fight on the city's southern outskirts broke out on Thursday afternoon, where migrants had been queuing for food handouts.

Around 100 Eritreans and some 30 Afghans were caught up in the violence, which lasted almost two hours after the shots were fired.

The four critically injured were shot in the neck, chest, abdomen and spine, AFP news agency reported.

A group of migrants carry sticks during clashes in Calais on 1 February 2018. Image copyright EPA Image caption A group of migrants pictured with sticks during the clashes

A second melee erupted shortly afterwards at an industrial site around 5km (three miles) away, when between 150 and 200 Eritreans armed with iron rods and sticks clashed with about 20 Afghans, the local prefecture said.

Later in the afternoon further violence broke out at a food distribution point in an area of Calais not far from the site of the old "Jungle" camp.

Security forces were sent to the area and there were no reports of incidents during the night.

In total, 22 people were injured, including some with stab wounds, AFP added.

Map showing the location of the fighting

Visiting Calais, Mr Collomb added: "There's been an escalation of violence that has become unbearable for both the people of Calais and the migrants".

The government would take control of food distribution, currently done by charities, with those groups working in association with authorities, he said.

Why are the migrants there?

Though the "Jungle" camp was demolished in 2016, hundreds of migrants are still living rough in the nearby woods, hoping to reach the UK. Many are young men.


Media captionViolence broke out near the old "Jungle" camp

Local charities put the number of such migrants living in Calais at around 800, while the authorities say there are between 550 and 600.

Mr Collomb urged migrants not to head to Calais if they wanted to try to get to the UK, saying their attempts from there - often trying to hide themselves in lorries - would be unsuccessful.

The Calais "Jungle" became the French symbol of the European migrant crisis, and some 7,000 people - most from the Middle East and Africa - were living there before the area was cleared.

Earlier this month, President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Theresa May signed a treaty to speed up the processing of migrants in Calais.


Media captionThe migrants living where the Calais Jungle once stood

Mr Macron has said that France will not allow a new migrant camp to be set up in Calais, and French police have been accused of brutality by some activists.

He is expected to unveil a new migrant policy next month, which will include speeding up the application process for asylum seekers and faster removal of those who fail to be accepted.

Charities and some of the president's allies have accused the government of taking a hard line on immigration.

Egypt's FM Shoukry said that Cairo, Khartoum and Addis Ababa have agreed to resolve all disagreements on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam technical issues within one month

Ahram Online , Monday 29 Jan 2018


President Sisi with Sudan's Bashir and Ethiopian PM Desalegn after tripartite summit in Addis Ababa (Snapshot ONTV)

Following a tripartite summit between the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in the Ethiopian capital on Monday to discuss differences over the Grand Ethiopian Renainssance Dam, Egypt's president told reporters, "People should be assured. None of [us three] countries – Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia – will be harmed."

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi added, "Egypt's interests are one with Ethiopia's and also one with Sudan's. We are speaking as one voice."

In a response to a question by reporters on whether the crisis over the dam has been resolved, El-Sisi said, "There is no crisis."

Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir concurred with El-Sisi, saying, "There is no more crisis."

Immediately after the end of the summit, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in press statements that the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed on resolving all disagreements on the technical issues on the Ethiopian dam within one month.

"There are no mediators in the Renaissance Dam negotiations," Shoukry added.

The meeting between El-Sisi, Al-Bashir and Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn, which came on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, aimed at breaking the deadlock in negotiations over disputes on the impact of the GERD on downstream countries.

Ethiopia and Sudan have not accepted the results of a report issued in March 2017 by a European consultancy firm on the potential impact of the dam on downstream countries, which concluded that the speed of construction could negatively affect Egypt's water share.

Ethiopia has reportedly rejected a recent proposal by Cairo to involve the World Bank in the stalled technical negotiations.

In response to questions from reporters at the Egyptian TV channel ONTV to the President about the dam issue following the meeting, El-Sisi called on the media not to convey messages that cause the public concern or that insult others. 
"We already have mechanisms in place, we have committees on the issue," he said.
El-Sisi explained that "there is a high-level committee including the ministries of foreign affairs and irrigation who are following up on the issue," asking the public to rest assured.
The Egyptian president had met on Saturday with Al-Bashir, and the two leaders agreed to form a joint ministerial committee to deal with all outstanding bilateral issues between the two countries.

El-Sisi has been in Addis Ababa since Saturday to participate in the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, which is taking place from 22 to 29 January.

On Saturday, El-Sisi chaired a meeting by the Peace and Security Council (PSC), the AU body in charge of maintaining continental peace and security, which Egypt is heading in January.


Southern separatists backed by the UAE have seized control of a key military base in the coastal city of Aden after a UAE fighter jet bombed the facility, according to a senior Yemeni official.

The official told Al Jazeera that the fighters are from the Southern Resistance Forces (SRF) - the armed wing of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), a political movement demanding secession for southern Yemen.

The fighters seized the base early on Tuesday, despite a ceasefire being brokered by coalition partners Saudi Arabia and the UAE hours earlier.


Unofficial translation of letter sent by the Dutch Ministery of Foreign affairs in response to the Dutch parliament motion on closure of the Eritrean embassy
The official document (Dutch) can be found here:

To the Chair of the Second Chamber of the States General

Date: 17 January 2018
Concerning: Motion of Sjoerdsma and Azmani (kst. 22831-132) about closing the Eritrean embassy
Dear Chair,
With this letter, the Cabinet informs your Chamber about the subsequent steps taken in response to the motion of members Sjoerdsma and Azmani (kst. 22831-132) in which the ‘government is requested to close the Eritrean embassy’.
The Cabinet has noted with concern the broadcast of Argos on Saturday 23 December. The broadcast confirms the current picture of the way in which the Eritrean community has to pay the diaspora tax to gain access to consular services from the Eritrean embassy office in The Hague. On 28 December 2017, the Eritrean ambassador in Brussels (co-accredited in the Netherlands) was summoned. In the talks with the ambassador, the great concerns of the Netherlands about the current practices around the collection of the diaspora tax in the Netherlands have again been explicitly conveyed.
Based on this meeting and earlier talks with the Eritrean authorities, the Cabinet concludes that there is no understanding from the Eritrean side about the great political and societal resistance in the Netherlands towards the way in which the diaspora tax is collected, and also that there is no willingness on the Eritrean side to conform to this.
For that reason, partly in light of the continuing indications that intimidation and coercion take place in relation to the collection of the diaspora tax and the resulting societal and political unrest, the Cabinet is obliged to give off a powerful diplomatic signal to the Eritrean authorities. By doing so, the Cabinet wants to make clear that the Netherlands does not accept these undesirable practices.
At the same time, the Cabinet recognises that no judge has as yet recorded proof of wrongful or punishable offenses by the Eritrean embassy office in The Hague. If the Public Prosecutor receives indications of possible punishable offenses, it will investigate these for leads for further criminal investigation and could instigate prosecution.
Considering the above, the Cabinet has decided to declare the chargé d’affaires of the Eritrean embassy office in The Hague persona non grata and has demanded his departure. The Eritrean ambassador was summoned on Tuesday 16 January to receive the note verbale containing this decision.
In the diplomatic world, a declaration of persona non grata counts as a very severe measure. The Netherlands rarely uses this measure and has never before closed an embassy (office) in the Netherlands unilaterally. The Netherlands understands that this measure is highly exceptional, which is intended as a signal to the Eritrean authorities.
The Cabinet has not decided to close the embassy office in The Hague. If the embassy office would be closed, the bilateral relations with Eritrea would be damaged to such an extent that adequate representation, for example in the area of migration, human rights and consular affairs and missions, would be virtually impossible. In addition, it was considered during the decision making process that the Eritrean community in the Netherlands benefits from nearby access to consular services. It would experience great practical hinderance of the closing, in which case the journey to Brussels has to be made for every consular service.
In order to reach a sustainable solution for the circumstances around the collection of the Eritrean diaspora tax, hard diplomatic measures alone will not suffice and it remains, among other things, crucial that police reports about punishable facts are filed.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs,

Halbe Zijlstra