In early 2023, most Eritrean troops withdrew from the bloody conflict in Tigray, leaving behind a shaky relationship with Ethiopia and its allies. From their intervention in the conflict in 2021 until their withdrawal, Eritrea faced international condemnation and sanctions for its participation in the Tigray conflict alongside Ethiopia. Eritrean forces were found to have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Still, Eritrea retains a close partnership with China and Russia. It is a member of China’s BRI and regularly engages with Chinese investors, military, and political personnel. Similarly, Eritrea’s relationship with Russia is strong. Eritrea showed its loyalty to Russia voting against a UN resolution to end the war in Ukraine. Asmara’s relationship with Beijing and Moscow, as well as its relations with Addis Ababa, will define its political and economic trajectory in the near term.
Key Judgement 1. In the next 12 months, the China-Eritrea relationship is very unlikely to falter and will continue to provide unwavering support to each other.
Key Judgement 2. Eritrea will very likely seek Russian assistance with military cooperation and food security over the next 12 months.
Key Judgement 3. Ethiopia will almost certainly avoid a military confrontation with Eritrea over Red Sea port access over the next 12 months.