Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki, left, and Iranian
president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [AFP]

On Thursday we speak with Isaias Afwerki, the Eritrean president, as his country celebrates 17 years of independence.

President Isaias came to power following a three-decade struggle for independence and has been the leader of the east African nation since it gained independence in 1991 - a move that was formally ratified two years later. 

A subsequent border war with Ethiopia claimed more than a 150,000 lives between 1998 and 2000 and while an agreement was signed, the long-running border dispute remains unresolved.

Anand Naidoo discusses the border disputes, initiatives to overcome the food crisis, the impact of newly discovered coal deposits in the country and the recent visit by President Isaias to Iran, where he held meetings with his counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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This episode of Riz Khan aired on Thursday, May 22, 2008

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