ENCD’s Diplomacy/International Relations/ Strategic proposals

By Fesseha Nair

Countries are no longer islands isolated from each other in our era of intertwined interests, as the foreign policies of countries are driven by interests.  Therefore, it must be well understood that foreign counties would have to take their respective positions towards Eritrea according to their political and economic interests. Perhaps it is ironic that the foreign policies of the Eritrean Regime had to play a catalytic role that will help the opposition to pursue a constructive productive and effective diplomacy in its struggle for change.  But the Eritrean opposition, despite the just and legitimate cause in the struggle to bring about democracy, has been incapable to win the sympathy and support of foreign states.  Hence, it has to make use of the diplomacy based on the know-how of the modus operandi of international relations which had been administering the world today. The interests of countries with national sovereignty, and international organizations are interests of international security, of regional organizations that sponsor the security and interests of the countries in the region, as well as non-governmental organizations that have become of great influence in international politics and overseas companies with a significant impact on the process of political decision making.


Therefore any formulation of diplomatic action plan must be based on the above. Here it would be helpful to point out some important guidelines:


  1. 1.     A diplomatic action built on positive interaction.  There are parties in the world who have their respective stakes in Eritrea, who need to be convinced that the opposition can be faithful to their interests as long as it is consistent with the national interests of Eritrea.  Therefore countries whose interests have been damaged by the Eritrean Regime will cooperate with the opposition. However, to start with, the ENCDC/ opposition must confirm its credibility and seriousness.


  1. 2.     A diplomatic action built on negative interaction.  There are parties in the world that Eritrean Regime constitutes a source of concern for their respective national security. Such forces would be more than happy to watch the Eritrean Regime disappear. They have genuine national security interests in the disappearance of this Regime.  But they can not risk to establish relations with the opposition unless they are certain about the seriousness of the opposition. With this in mind the Eritrean Regime is ready to exploit the internal contradictions of foreign countries.


  1. 3.     A diplomatic action built on bilateral policy and attitudes where some countries are in harmony with the opposition on their stance towards many issues.  As attitudes towards public issues are inconsistent with the positions of the Eritrean Regime, therefore compatibility with the opposition or contradiction with the regime is stimulus for diplomatic cooperation between the opposition and foreign nations.


  1. 4.     Diplomatic functioning based on lobbying through local communities, civic organizations and individual relationship, the grouping of communities and activating civic organizations or taking advantage of individual relationships can influence and stimulate the policies of Western states towards Eritrea.


  1. 5.     Benefit from Non-governmental Organizations of certain areas of concern, such as human rights organizations, and organizations concerned with freedoms of religion or press, or transparency and those NGOs fighting corruption, and even the relief and health humanitarian organizations that the Eritrean Regime refused to give access, all these factors could be valuable for the diplomatic advancement of the opposition if used properly.


The Eritrean National Council for democratic change / ENCDC need to muster the factors that manipulate world politics through a specialized and skilful apparatus the make use of its political and administrative authority.  Perhaps the most important aspect in this regard is to appoint united-external-political unit. The following activities might be useful.


  1. 1.     Formation of diplomatic apparatus for the Eritrean National council for Democratic Change to run the international relations with political and administrative competency and capabilities.
  2. 2.     Consensus on the features of the external political discourse of the ENCDC.
  3. 3.     Coordination of the foreign policies of the political organizations through a united committee consisting of the external relations of the ENCDC’s member political and civic organizations.  Making ENCDC’s foreign policy a non-partisan policy through the evaluation of external policy functioning, exchange of information and proposal of plans, and benefiting from the relationships of organizations and individuals in this area.
  4. 4.     Coordination with the civic organizations that support the overall objectives of the opposition, especially in Europe, America and Australia, and taking advantage of their relations, mandating the civic organizations to implement and illuminate the foreign policy of the ENCDC.
  5. 5.     Drawing a maximum benefit from the ENCDC’s presence in Addis Abeba, the capital of the African Diplomacy, where the African Union Headquarters is located. The ENCDC’s diplomacy should therefore approach relevant countries by taking advantage of the public events that these missions hold as well as the occasional events held in the host country, Ethiopia, and constantly sending goodwill messages on foreign National Holidays.
  6. 6.     Improving ENCDC’s website so that it could be a reference to all the questions that may arise in the mind of any policy-maker or a diplomatic mission, as well as writing leaflets carefully prepared and in various languages.


ENCDC Foreign mission


The Eritrean National Council for Democratic change must focus particularly on moral and political international support. The ENCDC has not yet drawn attention. The Eritrean people’s struggle for democracy has not attracted politicians, scholars, actors, pop- stars and international NGOs. The role of external assistance is dependent on the strength of the internal resistance. Efforts can be made to mobilize the public opinion against the dictatorship on humanitarian, moral and religious grounds. Efforts can be taken to obtain diplomatic, political and economic sanctions by governments and international organizations against the dictatorship. We must drive hard that the UNSC resolutions of sanction must be implemented. Financial and communication support can be provided to the ENCDC.


Summary of International Support for the Eritrean Cause:

The Eritrean cause lacks diplomatic recognition. The Eritrean Opposition for democratic change must work hard to gain international recognition. In our case here in Sweden, is to mobilise international opinion against the dictatorship. How can we gain this support and recognition is the main challenge of the opposition forces. The method of approach must be a soft power method that can convince the governments and NGOs in the Western world.


In order to receive attention and support from the west we might be forced to adhere to the human rights abuses in Eritrea under the current dictatorship. Peace, democracy, human rights respect and the rule of law are the universal values the international community shares. Our approach must focus on these common values.




In today’s world, which is dubbed as the “age of information evolution”, though the media of the Eritrean opposition is not commensurate with the magnitude of the cause it is raising and the challenge it is facing. It is doing its best but it is not enough especially when the regime it is opposing has information outlets that are considered very effective indeed.


Most of the opposition media outlets lack professionalism with most of the ENCDC’s organizations having their own media outlets which lessen the effectiveness of the spirit needed for change.  Furthermore, the opposition media outlets are often used to highlight the secondary political contradictions between ENCDC’s organizations. Thus I could point out the following points as proposals:  

  1. 1.     Formulation of an information policy with clear goals and instructions to convey a convincing message through all available information means.
  2. 2.     Tolerating secondary contradictions of political and civil forces, and focusing on the overarching challenge of removing the dictatorial regime in Eritrea.
  3. 3.      Coordination of work between media organizations and the signing of the Code of Conduct for the media outlets, so that the media war between the organizations, mud slinging or questioning of principles, personal attacks would be perceived as unacceptable.
  4. 4.     Development of the radio through the creation of an independent transmission with pursuing dynamic approaches in conveying the opposition’s message to resist the Regime and to deliver ENCDC’s message in an intelligent way.
  5. 5.     Diligences in founding a TV-channel to convey the goals of the opposition and reflect the suffering of the Eritrean people, and much effort to highlight the abuse of the regime against our people.
  6. 6.     Develop opposition websites and make it more professional and more easily viewed, more substantive and meaningful.
  7. 7.     Pay much attention to the Internet to benefit from groups on Facebook, Twitter and other tools that draw the attention of a large number of sympathizers.
  8. 8.     Give importance to training and assigning media work according to individual competency and not organizational affiliation.
  9. 9.     Open up communication with TV channels, news agencies, global and regional newspapers and magazines and all that can contribute to delivering the message of the opposition.
  10. 10.                        Use the universal language in the media, in terms of focus on the concepts of human rights, democracy, transparency and good governance.
  11. 11.                        Document the regime’s violations, and report the evidences in figures and images because it makes the message of the opposition more credible and acceptable to the recipient.
  12. 12.                         Adoption of mechanisms and means to evaluate the feedback such as surveys, questionnaires and others  and also to determine the effect of the message on the recipient.


Next……………………..will continue on Economy

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