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Eritrea sides with Saudi and allies over row with Qatar

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

June 12, 2017 (ADDIS ABABA) - The Eritrean government on Monday officially disclosed that it is behind full support of positions taken by Saudi Arabia and its allies over escalating Qatar-Gulf disputes.

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The secretive regime in Asmara has led Eritrea to be dubbed the North Korea of Africa

Eritrea’s decision comes only a few days after Qatar and Saudi Arabia officials sought diplomatic support from Ethiopia and Eritrea as their East African allies.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain last week cut diplomatic ties with Qatar over alleged accusations that Doha was supporting international Islamist extremists who are threats to the region’s peace and security.

As part of Qatar’s efforts to de-escalate the tension, Qatari delegation today held talks with the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, only a day after Saudi officials paid visit a to Addis Ababa on partly the same mission.

Unlike neighbouring Eritrea, Addis Ababa, however, did not take sides over the Gulf crises but said today it supports Kuwait’s initiative to ease the crises.

Ethiopia said today it supports Kuwaiti’s initiative aimed at engaging both sides into dialogue to narrow differences.

In a statement Asmara issued on Monday, the reclusive Red Sea nation said the move was collectively taken by Saudi and other Gulf nations "is not confined to Qatar alone as the potential of Qatar is very limited".

Eritrea, which had strong ties with Qatar, further went into saying that the initiative taken by the Gulf nations "is among many in the right direction that envisages full realisations of regional peace and stability"

The Eritrean ministry of information said Monday that the current Gulf crises is not a matter that requires invitation of the Eritrean government or solicitation of its vote.

"For Eritrea, this is a timely issue that warrants its active support," it noted.

Egypt, UAE along with Bahrain last week cut diplomatic ties with Qatar following footsteps of the wealthiest nation of Saudi Arabia and further suspended air, land and sea routes with the Energy-rich Gulf nation.

While calling on Qatar and the Gulf nations to ease tensions, the United Nations said it is working to resolve the crises.

(ST)

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