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Eritrea Denies German Flight to Djibouti Use of Its Airspace

Eritrea Denies German Flight to Djibouti Use of Its AirspaceAirbus A321LR plane touched down in the port city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia after circling above the Red Sea for over an hour.An apparent lack of Eritrea’s official government authorization has resulted in the denial of permission for a German aircraft, carrying Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, to fly through the East African country’s airspace.

German cabinet minister, who departed from Berlin this week to visit three African countries, was on her way to Djibouti for the initial part of her journey. However, she had to make an unexpected layover in Saudi Arabia due to being denied entry into Eritrean airspace.

According to German press reports, Baerbock’s Airbus A321LR plane touched down in the port city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia after circling above the Red Sea for over an hour.

According to the captain of the plane, despite all the efforts, acquiring permission for overflight from the Eritrean Foreign Ministry was deemed impossible.

Six years ago, in 2018, when the German parliament criticized Eritrea’s human rights record, Eritrean authorities accused Berlin of interfering in regional matters. Heiko Maas, the former German Foreign Minister, had stated that despite a peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia to resolve a long-standing conflict, Eritrea had shown minimal improvement in safeguarding its citizens’ rights.

Baerbock will be visiting Kenya and South Sudan as part of her East African tour. Her objective is to engage in discussions about possible strategies to achieve a ceasefire agreement between the conflicting parties in Sudan, where there has been ongoing violence since April of the previous year.

Prior to her departure, the minister stated that during her meetings in Djibouti, a key point of discussion would be the safeguarding of global maritime transportation in the Red Sea against the assaults carried out by the Houthis. Given Djibouti’s geographical proximity to Yemen, the two nations have historically maintained strong bilateral ties.

Top German diplomat has experienced flight delays on previous occasions during foreign trips. In August, Baerbock’s planned week-long visit to the Indo-Pacific region was called off when she had to make an unplanned landing in Abu Dhabi because of mechanical problems with her Airbus A340 aircraft.

In addition to not having Eritrean permission, Baerbock’s trip to East Africa, which covered three countries, was already affected by mechanical problems. As reported by German media, her official aircraft experienced engine issues, leading her to travel on an air force plane instead.