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Vol 38 No 1

Published 3rd January 1997


Eritrea

In the front line again

Asmara's investment drive provokes less interest than its adventurous foreign policy

Combining an assertive foreign policy, hard-nosed economic reforms and a tight rein on domestic politics, President Issayas Aferworki is cast from a similar mould to Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni. Both their countries have been devastated by years of war, both leaders have immense personal charisma and both are engaged in a proxy war with the National Islamic Front government of Sudan. Both these former Marxist leaders have impressed Washington and Whitehall enough to have attracted fulsome diplomatic support and some foreign aid from increasingly parsimonious Western treasuries. But neither leader is much impressed by Western political prescriptions such as multi-party democracy.

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