Long Wary of the Gulf, Ethiopia Is Refashioning Itself as an Eager Partner

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, left, is welcomed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed upon his arrival at Addis Ababa International Airport, Ethiopia, July 14, 2018 (AP photo by Mulugeta Ayene).
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, left, is welcomed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed upon his arrival at Addis Ababa International Airport, Ethiopia, July 14, 2018 (AP photo by Mulugeta Ayene).

Since Abiy Ahmed became prime minister of Ethiopia a year ago, domestic and foreign observers have heavily scrutinized his political reforms and, especially, the peace deal he reached last year with Eritrea. But the changes he’s introduced extend farther afield. On the foreign policy front, Abiy has demonstrated a willingness to engage with wealthy Middle Eastern countries on the other side of the Red Sea, dismissing his predecessors’ wariness of becoming entangled in the region’s politics. Evidence of this engagement was first apparent in the role that Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia, played in brokering the Eritrea peace deal. It […]

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