Dawit Isaak supporters hopeful after Bildt's meeting with Eritrea
Sweden's foreign minister Carl Bildt met with his Eritrean counterpart Osman Saleh in Brussels, on Tuesday, however what they talked about is under wraps.
Bildt's secretary Erik Zsiga confirmed for news agency TT that the two foreign ministers had met, but he would not say what they discussed, nor did he want to say whether they talked about Dawit Isaak, a Swedish-Eritrean journalist who has been imprisoned in Eritrea for nearly 12 years without trial.
Even so, Olle Schmidt, a member of the European Parliament, who has been advocating for Eritrea to release Isaak, hopes the meeting means freedom is a step closer.
"I really hope this is positive," Schmidt tells the tabloid Expressen. "That they're confirming the information signals that the government and Bildt also believe this can lead to something. It's fantastic to hear."
Leif Öbrink, chair of Free Dawit Isaak, speculates that the two foreign ministers certainly discussed Isaak.
"Why else would Bildt meet the foreign minister?" says Öbrink, adding that discussing any other subject would happen via the EU.
"My first spontaneous reaction is positive, Bildt has not had a meeting with a [Eritrean] minister before this, from what I know. Just that the question is up is positive. What it will lead to, I don't know, but it's a step in the right direction," says Öbrink.
However, Arhe Hamednaca, a Swedish-Eritrean MP with the Swedish Parliament, is pessimistic. He says, "It's meaningless and will not yield any result. The Eritrean government is trying to win points by meeting prominent European ministers."