The president of Eritrea, Isaias Afeworki, flatly denied charges made by the State Department that Eritrea has flown weapons and supplies to Somalia in support of al-Shabab and other insurgents.
Afeworki called the claims that his government has enflamed violence in Somalia “absurd,” “unthinkable” and “not feasible.”
“The United States would know better than anyone what flies in the skies of Somalia, what comes in and what comes out,” he told VOA’a Tewelde Weldeghebriel in a two-hour interview in Asmara on Friday.
The president also believes that the accusations are not coming from the Obama administration but from “individuals or interest groups.” He said he is open to constructive engagement with the Obama administration.
Eritrea has offered haven to the Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia leaders in Asmara in recent years.
Afeworki has recently opened up to the international media to call attention to the 18th anniversary of Eritrean independence. He has served as president of the nation declared independence from Ethiopia. In recent years, the nation has chosen an isolationist path from most western donors, expelled many non-government organizations and jailed political opponents and journalists.