Video of President Isaias Afwerki (PIA) speaking at an event organized for him at Princeton University, during his U.S. visit in 1999.
April 1, 2017
Reading from handout, a reporter in the video said Eritrea had gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1993 to which PIA swiftly corrected the following quote:
"Number one: Eritrea did not get its independence from Ethiopia. At all. I mean, we had our just cause, we fought for a long time - for almost three decades, probably half a century - and when '91 came we said, 'We're postponing the unilateral declaration of independence to go through a legitimate political process to assure the international community and reassure that we have exercised this right through a referendum.'
Then people were saying, 'We'll referendum could be expedited if the Ethiopian government agrees to the referendum process.'
We said, 'No. Not at all.'
We are not asking for the blessing of the Ethiopian government or anybody else for that matter. We would like to exercise this right through a referendum and we would like the international community to come help us organize and witness the desire or the wish of our population. No one was invited to offer Eritrea independence on a silver platter. Not at all. We rejected that all the way. We waited for two years after 1991. And in 1993 fair and free choice of the population was expressed in that referendum and we got our independence. No one gave us our independence. We did not get our independence from anyone. Not Ethiopia, not Somalia, not Sudan or even the international community. The international community was there to witness an exercise of free choice of the Eritrean people, which culminated to the independence of this small country."