The United States established diplomatic relations with Eritrea in 1993, following its independence and separation from Ethiopia. The United States supported Eritrea’s independence, but ongoing government detention of political dissidents and others, the closure of the independent press, limits on civil liberties, allegations of human rights abuses, and the expulsion of some U.S. government agencies have contributed to strained U.S.-Eritrean relations. Eritrea’s authoritarian regime is controlled entirely by the president, who heads the sole political party, which has ruled the country since 1991. National elections have not taken place since 1991 and the constitution has not been implemented. Regionally, Eritrea has long-standing border disputes with Ethiopia and Djibouti that, in the past, turned violent. Eritrea remains subject to two UN Security Council sanctions resolutions which impose an arms embargo, and restrict the travel of some individuals and freeze their assets.
U.S. interests in Eritrea include reconciling ongoing disputes with Ethiopia and Djibouti, urging progress toward a democratic political culture, citing and addressing human rights issues, promoting economic reform, and encouraging Eritrea to contribute to regional stability.