Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki has tasked the people of South Sudan to continue on the path of liberation despite internal squabbles and external machinations.

Afwerki stressed that South Sudan’s liberation has yet to be fulfilled and thus, the arduous task of nation building has been elusive. He, however, promised that Eritrea will do everything in its modest ways to help.

The comments were part of Afwerki’s speech at a dinner on Saturday held in honour of the visiting South Sudan president Salva Kiir and his delegation.

“The struggle for justice and liberation is inherently onerous. But, the struggle, challenges and trajectory of nation building are much heavier.

“The people of South Sudan have asserted their liberation through precious sacrifices. But due to external subversion and internal discord, they were embroiled in a relentless spiral of strife and crisis soon after independence as they embarked on the heavy task of nation building. This is extremely distressing. As it happens, the mission of liberation has yet to be fulfilled.

“The people of Eritrea will stand, as ever, on the side of, and in solidarity with, the people of South Sudan until and beyond the achievement of the mission of liberation,” he said.

Afwerki also underlined the special bond between the two countries having come from liberation struggles that claimed the lives of its nationals in the journey to freedom.

“I wish success to the domestic efforts that are being conducted under the leadership of the SPLM and Your Excellency to overcome the numerous challenges that the country is facing.

“In this respect, I urge the people of South Sudan to nurture and consolidate ties of friendship and cooperation with all the peoples of the Horn of Africa in general and with the people of the Sudan in particular,” Afwerki added.

Kiir is the third leader in the region to be invited to Eritrea in the last two months. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed arrived in Asmara in July 2018 for talks that led to normalization of relations with Eritrea after decades of state – to – state disagreement.

In between Abiy and Kiir’s visit was that of Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo who spent three days on an official visit to Asmara. The two nations restored diplomatic and all brotherly relations during the visit.

Eritrea’s remaining diplomatic disagreement in the region is with neighbouring Djibouti who accuse Asmara of occupying their sovereign territory and holding their nationals as prisonsers of war.

Asmara’s agression towards Djibouti is part of the reason the United Nations imposed an arms sanction of the country. Eritrea has dismissed Djibouti’s claims and has yet to indicate whether it will submit to an independent arbitration that Djibouti recently requested from the UN Secretary General.

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