Eritrea President Isaias Afwerki has lauded the nation’s ability to defeat challenges and defend its sovereignty as the East African country celebrated its independence.
Mr Afwerki – who has been in power since Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in the 1990s – said the country had “refused to succumb to slavery, colonialism, deceit, the logic of force, and subordination”.
He also accused unnamed forces who tried to keep Eritrea “hostage through the continuous fomenting and managing of crises” in the region.
He appeared to be referring to the dispute with Ethiopia over the location of the border, which resulted in a conflict between the two countries two decades ago.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for restoring relations with Mr Isaias’ government.
In his address, Mr Isaias president said: “Our patience, in the face of occupation of our sovereign territories for 20 years, has also paid off”.
Eritrean soldiers have been supporting Ethiopian forces in the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.
The US has called for the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean troops following accusations of human rights abuses.
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, announced visa restrictions on Ethiopian and Eritrean officials and others who are accused of atrocities.
Ethiopia, for its part, said it would “reassess” its relationship with the US if it continued to “meddle in its internal affairs”.