The Eritrean Foreign Minister, Osman Saleh, and Yemane Ghebreab, senior political adviser to the President, visited the Foreign Office from 7-8 February. This was the first Eritrean ministerial visit to the UK. The Eritrean Delegation met the Minister of Africa, Henry Bellingham, the Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, and had meetings with senior FCO and UKBA officials.
A range of issues were discussed including the UK’s bilateral relationship with Eritrea; regional security and stability; migration and piracy. Mr Bellingham also underlined the importance the UK attaches to improvements to human rights, including the case of the G11 (the group of 11 parliamentarians arrested in September 2001), and religious and press freedoms.
Mr Bellingham also hosted a business roundtable for existing and potential investors in which 22 companies participated. Discussion centred on potential investment opportunities in the extractive industries, infrastructure development, agriculture and financial services.