Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki in Abu Dhabi

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Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki was in Abu Dhabi on Monday in an official visit to the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf Today reported. The paper wrote that Isaias was received by Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the two discussed “ways of enhancing ties of friendship and co-operation to serve mutual interests of the friendly countries and their people.”
According to the Gulf Today, during the meeting, held at Al Bahr Palace, the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Afewerki focussed on ways of co-operation in political, economic and developmental spheres within the framework of the Emirati-Eritrean leaderships’ commitment to advance bilateral ties to new heights.
Recently, the Beirut based Arabic TV channel, Al-mayadeen reported that UAE has acquired a 30-year lease for military base in the Eritrean port of Assab, a claim denied by Eritrea.
According to reports, the UAE is increasingly focusing on projecting military power “west of Suez.” “Events such as the Arab Spring in 2011, Iran’s growing confidence and escape from nuclear sanctions, plus the rise of the Islamic State have convinced Emirati leaders to become more activist in managing the risks facing their federation,” an article that came out on the War on the Rocks website on September 2, 2016 stated. According to the website, the tiny Gulf nation has established its first power projection base outside of the Arabian Peninsula in the port of Assab and over the last year, this port was built up from empty desert into a modern airbase, deep-water port, and military training facility.

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