Petros Solomon (born 1951; also known as Wed'Solomon, Son of Solomon) is an Eritrean politician. He was an Eritrean People's Liberation Front commander during the Eritrean War of Independence, and following independence he served in several positions in the Cabinet, including Minister of Defense and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He has been in prison, held incommunicado in an undisclosed location, since September 18, 2001 for opposing the rule of Eritrean president Isaias Afewerki. Amnesty International named him a prisoner of conscience.
He was a member of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF). From 1972 until the end of the Eritrean War of Independence in 1991, he served as Chief Strategist and the head of Military Intelligence (Brigade 72) of the EPLF. He also served as a member of the executive committee (Polit-Bureau) of EPLF from 1977 to 1994. During the War of Independence, he is credited with having single-handedly organized the EPLF's intelligence section. He is also credited with having been the commander who commanded over the Nakfa, Kerkebet, Zara front during the war in the early 1980s. He led the battle of Massawa in 1977; He also, along with Ogbe Abraha, led the battle to liberate the town of Barentu in 1987.
In 1991, as he commanded the EPLF army that besieged Asmara, he took charge of the city when it fell for EPLF. In its June 16, 1991 publication, The New York Times stated that after the fall of Asmara, "Petros Solomon, was running the city until the arrival of Isaias Afewerki". Following independence, Petros Solomon served in various cabinet positions. He served as the first Minister of Defense of Eritrea. In mid-February 1997, he was moved from the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs to that of Minister of Marine Resources.
During his time as a Minister of Marine Resources, "he independently conceived of a biosaline agriculture as a way of building the economy of the country and gave enthusiastic support to Manzanar Project".
In September 2001 he was detained indefinitely along with other politicians who were known as the G-15, a group which opposes the rule of Eritrean president Isaias Afewerki.
Petros Solomon is known for his extraordinary skills of making friends. He is said to have "a quick wit and sparkling, playful sense of humor." Given his personality, Dan Connell writes, "It was inevitable he would clash with Isaias Afewerki".
After Petros's detention many of his former subordinates openly opposed his arrest and got arrested themselves as a result, including Kidane Wedi Qeshi who used to be Communications Operator for Petros Solomon, Mehari (last name unknown) who was Chauffeur for Petros Solomon, Tesfai "Gomorra" Gebreab who was a close friend of Petros Solomon. Many others, including many diplomats whom Petros recruited when he was Minister of Foreign Affairs, are abandoning the Eritrean Government.
The following is an excerpt from a poem written by one of his friends,
But who's this quiet brown man whose eyes see through me,
Who makes me question all that I have done,
Who calls the airy poet back to history,
Who is this fine-boned Petros Solomon?:
He is married to Aster Yohannes. She too has been imprisoned since December 2003. They have four children, including twins.
"When confronted with criticism, it is not useful to think only in terms of digging up trenches and launching counter-offensives; criticism should be accepted with an open heart and an environment of tolerance; institutionalism is the best approach to decision-making... nobody or no institution has a monopoly on wisdom and foresight."
Petros Solomon, Tsigenai Newspaper, June 11, 2001 as translated by Awate.com
"The tone we set here (at the UN General Assembly) collectively will have far greater influence in shaping the future of our planet than the isolated measures and endeavours we undertake in our individual countries."
Petros Solomon, At General Assembly Session 50 meeting 28, Date 11 October 1995
"ናትና ኣይንገድፍን: ዘይናትና ኣይንትንክፍን ::(natna aingedfn....zeinatna aintnkfn)" (meaning: We do not let go what belongs to us; We do not touch others' belongings.) Asmara, December 30, 1995
Quoted in: Reflections on the Hanish Affair, Tekie Fessehazion. This saying has been repeatedly used by many officials in the Government of Eritrea to refer to the subsequent conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia, 1998
"We never argue, my wife and I; because she can shoot straighter and faster than I can."
Petros Solomon, Qtd by Stephen Chan, Preface of the book "Grasping Africa, Tale of Achievement and Tragedy"