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Eritrea: Ethiopia

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 9742, tabled on 29 January 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what his Department's policy is on the Reconnecting Eritrea and Ethiopia through rehabilitation of the main arterial roads in Eritrea project which is supported by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.

Answered on

7 February 2020

Following the historic agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia in July 2018, reconnecting the two countries and providing Ethiopia access to Eritrea’s ports is a priority. This will help to boost both countries’ economies, and generate job opportunities.

The UK welcomes reconciliation between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Our support for the project under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, to reconnect Eritrea and Ethiopia through the rehabilitation of the main roads, was conditional on the EU working with the UN to monitor the treatment of national service workers implementing the project. We are continuing to monitor this. We note increased engagement from Eritrea with the EU on human rights issues since the inception of the project, including two Article 8 dialogues and the visit to Asmara of the EU Special Representative on Human Rights.

The border between Eritrea and Ethiopia remains closed and we are concerned that both sides are yet to agree substantive arrangements on trade and border management given the impact this has on peace agreement. Like our partners in the EU we urge the two countries to ensure the agreement is fully implemented in order to bring stability and prosperity to their countries and the Horn of Africa region.