RIYADH – The African Littoral States of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden convened have signed a document that will see economic and political cooperation in the region.
The Ministers attending the Riyadh meeting signed the Charter for the Establishment of the Council of Arab and African Littoral States of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and the document will be presented to the Heads of State of the eight littoral states.
They are countries bordering the Red Sea. They are Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti.
Eritrea delegation composed of Foreign Affairs Minister Osman Saleh, presidential adviser Yemane Ghebreab and, People’s Front for Democracy and Justice’s Head of Economic Affairs Hagos Hiwet.
Eritrea has been pushing for stronger relations among the states.
“Saleh reiterated Eritrea’s position that these littoral States shoulder primary responsibility for the security and development of the Red Sea. He further stressed that the objective must be to build an effective regional organisation with requisite competence and capability,” Yemane Meskel, the country’s Information Minister said.
He added that he met Saudi Minister of Media Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah and spoke on scope and modalities of cooperation between the respective ministries on “multifaceted investment, trade and the Red Sea security bilateral ties”.
Eritrea has been strengthening ties with Saudi Arabia, a US ally and enemy of Iran, especially on security affairs.
In 2018, Saudi Arabia organised a summit seeking an alliance with the six countries bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. This is a strategic area key to global shipping and increasingly an arena of contention with regional rivals such as Iran, Turkey and Qatar.
Earlier in the meeting, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah stressed the need to accelerate the rate of cooperation and bolster capabilities to confront any dangers or challenges in the region.
Prince Faisal told reporters that Saudi Arabia does not want to see further escalation of tensions in the region at a “very dangerous moment”, following Friday’s of Iran’s military commander Qassem Soleimani.
“We are very keen that the situation in the region doesn’t escalate any further. It’s certainly a very dangerous moment and we have to be conscious of the risks and dangers not just to the region but to wider global security,” he added.