Is the normalization of relations between Eritrea and Sudan reliable?

By Fesseha Nair
posted 28 Oct 2005

The nature of violent conflict between two sovereign states, thus inter –state conflict has changed its actual subject matter and its form of expression. What was the actual subject of the Eritro-Sudan conflict? How was its form of expression? Most violent conflicts between sovereign states were propelled by ideology or conquest of territory over the past centuries.

Is the conflict between Sudan and Eritrea ideological or territorial?  If not, what is it then?

The question that concerns us is the resolution of conflicts in such a way as to maximize the prospects of peace and democracy in both countries. Is the recent meeting between Eritrean delegation and Sudan Government officials directed for sustainable peace between the two countries or is that political cosmetics?

Eritrea a small country in the Red sea coast, liberated and become sovereign at the twenty first century has been in conflict with all its neighbouring countries. The regime in Eritrea lacks the democratic skills of managing conflicts peacefully and has no culture of dialogue except treacherous and timely methods that never bring peace but worsen it. However, this article will focus the subject matter and the form of expression of the Eritro- Sudan conflict, and the message of the recent Eritrean delegation visit to Khartoum

The Eritro –Sudan Conflict analysis and the massage of the delegation

Analysing conflict helps one to understand the issues and elements, provides one with insights on the nature of the conflict and process. It offers one with analytic tools- this involves reaching detailed understanding of its issues. The conflict between the regime in Eritrea and Sudan is ideological. It is a conflict between a democracy and dictator. The government in Sudan has the culture of negotiation in resolving conflicts of either internal or external nature. The governments in Sudan have been developing the habits of compromise, cooperation and consensus building in all their internal and foreign relations. Thanks to the peace efforts and the good will of the government of Sudan and the opposition, today, the sustainability of peace and stability in Sudan is progressing and its first result is the formation of a unity government.

But the regime in Eritrea is a dictator that never believes in democracy and negotiations. In Eritrea there are no citizen, law and rights. The regime is self –appointed and is not representative and accountable to the people.  There are no free civil society organizations. Political participation is not inclusive but exclusive. People with different views and critics are forbidden, outlawed and thrown in prisons. The country is governed by the whims of one man. It relations with international and regional organizations is poor and is not based on friendly partnership and transparency. The regime in Eritrea is known by its human rights abuses all over the world. The government in Eritrea is not consistent in its support of democracy and development inside the country and abroad.

How can a dictator and democracy work together? Dictators has no the properties of democratic principles and can not negotiate but dictate.

The Sudan –Eritrea conflict was apparent in 1994. It was the regime in Eritrea that started accusing Sudan government by fabricating issues of religion and other international human security( terrorism) that never concerns it. The time was when Sudan government was accused by the USA government hosting terrorists like bin-Ladin and others. Later on, the government in Eritrea escalated its conflict by intervening militarily in the affairs of Sudan openly. It has openly declared that it will topple down the government in Sudan by giving weapons to all of the Sudan opposition political fronts. It has closed the Sudanese Embassy in Asmara and transferred it to the opposition. The Government in Eritrea has violated article 2 of the UN and the AU charter of non interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country.

The Government in Sudan has never responded by retaliation but warned Eritrea many times not to interfere in their internal affairs. Sudan government has never interfered in the internal affairs of Eritrea. The government in Eritrea never ceased its interference in the internal affairs of Sudan.

Eritrean government’s intervention in the internal affairs of Sudan has inflicted many loses and damages on both people of Sudan and Eritrea. What measures should be taken if Sudan and Eritrea will resolve their disputes? Was the delegation from Eritrea that has been visiting Sudan currently has the real message of identifying the problems and to what degree of political priority and public support does it have from the people of Sudan and Eritrea?

Eritrea is an authoritarian regime neither committed nor willing to democratize, while Sudan is a democracy committed and willing to democratize.

Was the recent visit by Eritrean delegation to Sudan really aimed to solve the disputes or has it other reasons? As some diplomats and political experts confirmed the visit to Sudan was just to get neutral neighbour while the tension between Eritrea and Ethiopia is nearly to explode.

Abdalla Jaber , the senior Eritrean official head of the visiting delegation told the reporters that several obstacles between Sudan and Eritrea were resolved. He continued and said that the 21- year north- south civil war, a conflict in which Eritrean government sided was ended. Was the dispute between Eritrean government and the Sudan the internal conflict of Sudan? No , I don’t think,  the government of Eritrea was a close friend of Dr. Hassan Al- Turabi when al-Turabi was a leading government member in Sudan and Issayas Afewrki was at that time against the rebels of southern Sudan.

I mean there were no clear issues of obstacles discussed by the delegation. The meeting between the Eritrean delegation and Sudan Unity government’s foreign minister, Dr.  Lamkol raised only two issues-

– to stop helping each others opposition political organizations, thus Eritrean opposition   groups in Sduan will be disarmed and be allowed to live in Sudan as refugees,

– and the Sudanese opposition will be stopped and leave the Eritrean soil.

The major media channels in Sudan have not commented on this unexpected and hurried visit except Mr. Hassan al –Turabi’s positive respond- Secretary General of the Sudanese Popular Congress. The unexpected visit to Sudan by an Eritrean delegation is not a genuine approach for real relations based on conflict prevention, management and resolution but to get relief from Sudan and prepare the war with Ethiopia.

The dictator in Asmara is isolated diplomatically, politically and economically at regional and international level. It has been rejecting all appeals from the international organizations like UN, AU and EU. Nowadays, it is in verbal war with UN’s Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The message of the Eritrean delegation was not a genuine one to deal with the real obstacles for the Eritrea Sudan relations but it was simply asking help to its war with Ethiopia.

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