THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY On CLINTON MEETING WITH PRESIDENT OF ERITREA
The President met today with President Isaias Afwerki in the Oval Office for thirty minutes. The two Presidents welcomed the excellent relations that exist between the two countries and discussed ideas for broadening the relationship, especially in the areas of commerce and security. President Isaias also met at the White House with Anthony Lake, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. During his visit to Washington, President Isaias has also had meetings with Secretary of Defense William Perry and other senior Administration officials.
The President expressed his appreciation for Eritrea's good start on the road to democracy and free markets in the nearly two years since its independence. He pledged continued U.S. support for Eritrea's efforts to rebuild after its decades-long struggle for independence and applauded the emphasis that the Eritrean government has placed on encouraging international trade and investment as the engine for Eritrean development.
The two Presidents also discussed the need for peace and stability in the Horn of Africa, especially Sudan and Somalia. They agreed that a peaceful resolution to the civil war in Sudan is essential not only for the long-suffering people of that nation but also for the security of Sudan's neighbors. They reaffirmed their commitment to work together and with the nations of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought and Development to achieve that goal.
The Presidents also underscored their joint effort to promote food security throughout the region. They agreed that the Greater Horn of Africa Initiative, developed by the USAID, provides a solid basis for a preventive approach to food crises in this ten-nation region. They agreed that a regional Horn of Africa conference should be held soon to coordinate measures that could use humanitarian relief as a stimulus for recovery and sustainable development.