Statement by H.E. Mr. Osman Saleh, Foreign Minister at the EU-Horn of Africa Ministerial Conference on Migration and Human trafficking

Mr. Osman Saleh, Foreign MinisterOn behalf of the people and government of Eritrea, I wish to thank the African Union, the European Union and the Italian Presidency for taking this timely initiative to address the critical issue of migration and the crime of human trafficking, which is profoundly affecting millions of people and nations throughout the world.

I wish to make four main points and I will be very brief.

  1. 1)  Conferences, like this one in Rome, as well as those that preceded it and those to follow, are important to highlight the critical nature of the issue and to create a broader understanding and a sense of urgency. Eritrea, however, wishes to focus on and stress the crucial need to take concrete measures and within specified timeframes to make a positive difference for irregular migrants and victims of human trafficking as well as address the legitimate concerns of the countries of origin, transit and destination.
  2. 2)  We in Eritrea are determined, and are already taking appropriate action, to develop the political, economic, social and cultural environment that would provide opportunities for our young people to live and thrive in their own country. We are engaged in a sustained and promising effort to transform our economy and develop our human resources, specially the education, health, skills, fortitude and initiative of our youth. We have a specific program to bring tangible change in the lives of our people within three to five years, positive change which will also have a significant impact on current migration patterns.
  3. 3)  Eritrea has embarked on and is determined to work in, close and mutually beneficial, partnership with regional countries to address the problems of irregular migration and the crime of human trafficking. More broadly and importantly, Eritrea is actively engaged in promoting regional cooperation

and integration, as a strategically-located, maritime country, it stands to gain from regional peace, stability and cooperation.

4) Eritrea values its partnership with the European Union and is determined to work with the EU and all European countries to tackle irregular migration and human trafficking and to address their root causes. We call for an urgent review of European migration policies towards Eritreans, as they are, to say the least, based on incorrect information, something that is being increasingly acknowledged. Crucially, we call on the EU and all European countries to increase their all-sided engagement and cooperation with Eritrea and the entire Horn of Africa region, in a partnership focused on peace, security, trade and investment that will benefit both the region and Europe.

Those are my four points. Let me conclude by thanking everyone present here today and reaffirming that you will find in Eritrea an effective and hugely constructive partner.

I thank you!