August 28, 2012 — In an unexpected move, Eritrea extends its condolence to longtime rival Ethiopia after Meles Zenawi's death, local reporters have said.
After days of silence, Eritrea's Deputy Ambassador to the AU, Benyam Berhe, visited the Ethiopian National Palace yesterday, where the former prime minister's coffin has been on display for mourners.
While at the National Palace, the young Eritrean diplomat signed the book of condolences on behalf of Eritrea, much to the surprise of many observers and security personal.
Regional analysts have noted this likely not a political move, but a symbol of neighborly goodwill and cultured hospitality being shown by Eritrea.
After the bloody border war between 1998-2000, Meles was described as being 'obsessed with Eritrea.' He adopted a 'no war, no peace' strategy and supported various al-Qaeda-linked Islamic insurgents, including the infamous Eritrean Islamic Jihad Movement, to destabilize the Red Sea State.
When the international courts said Badme belonged to Eritrea in 2002, he refused to adhere to their ruling and continued to occupy their sovereignty in defiance.
On the political front, Meles worked with junior U.S. diplomats to place two rounds of sanctions against Eritrea in an attempt to weaken its military, economy and isolate the country from the international community.
Despite seemingly an unwavering political, financial and military backing from Washington D.C., Meles was said to have lived a paranoid and depressed life, who was consumed with hate and fear for arch-foe Eritrea and his political rivals.
|Eritrea's Deputy Ambassador to the AU, Benyam Berhe, signing the condolences
book for Meles Zenawi on August 27, 2012
|Eritrean diplomat Benyam Berhe shaking hands with Azeb Mesfin, the wife
of the late prime minister
|Former dictator Meles Zenawi's coffin on display at the National Palace in
Addis Ababa – August 27, 2012