Gulf Information Center  

June 16,  2005

  Because of the indulgence of the Eritrean government in the internal affairs of the Sudan, peace talks in Abuja between the Sudanese government and the opposition forces has been interrupted for about six months. Though peace talks have resumed to ease the dead-lock, it has again been disrupted for two days as a consequence of the meddling of the Eritrean government.

Chief moderator between the conflicting parties representing AU, Salim Ahmed Salim, who had served as chairman of the OAU for about ten years, has during his incumbency in that position in 1993, been strongly criticized by the Eritrean president.  It is to be recalled that he had also used his esteemed office to resolve conflicts that then arose between Eritrea and the Sudan and between Eritrea and Djibouti. He is well remembered together with the presidents of Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso and Djibouti for the relentless efforts he has made to resolve the Eritro-ethiopian border dispute by peaceful means. His scrupulous endeavors and those of others were however rendered untenable in1998 because of the irreconcilable extreme positions which the two conflicting parties adhered during the negotiations.

Where peace agreement, presided by Abdulaziz Butefelika president of Algeria was reached between the two countries in 2000, Salim Ahmed Salim had offered his humble services as a prominent negotiator to the conflicting parties. Despite his resolute commitment to resolve the conflict both before and after his tenure of office in AOU though, he was accused by the Eritrean government for supporting Ethiopia.

Apparently, the Eritrean government has exerted hard-line imposition to foil the on-going negotiations for peace between the Sudanese government and the opposition forces. Salim Ahmed Salim has however proven skillful in sidelining Eritrea. He clearly put his stand that Eritrea is no more a mediator but an advisor to the negotiating parties. All those concerned have fully endorsed his justified position towards the dispute in question. With no significant role to play in the search for a negotiated settlement of the dispute, the Eritrean government had nothing to resort except to resent the shame and disgrace it has to bear pursuant to its ill conceived and ill-fated sinister motives.

In a related development, Asaid Mustafa Osman, Sudanese foreign minister told Aljgezira TV last Sunday that since the diminishing role of the Eritrean government in the negotiations, peace talks between the conflicting parties is full-fledgedly underway in Abuja. He further pointed out that the Eritrean government had never been invited by the AU to mediate in the peace-talks and strongly criticized it for its indulgent policies. He stated that the Asmara system has no justification whatsoever to indulge itself in the negotiations taking place. Except for Chad, Libya, and Egypt, Eritrea could not claim border interests with the Sudan in the conflicting region. He retreated that Eritrea’s reputation as a provocative and aggressive approach to conflicts could in no way be seen as a reliable mediator. That is a slap in the face for the Asmara system.

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