Following the recently concluded national conference of Eritreans, the government of Eritrea has lodged a complaint with Sudan and Yemen for sending their representatives to attend the event which was hosted by Ethiopia at its capital. Sudan and Yemen are members of the Sana’a Forum for Cooperation whose charter includes the promotion of peace and security in the region; they explained their presence as no more than honoring an invitation.
Since the Sana’a Forum for Cooperation was established among Yemen, Ethiopia and Sudan in October 2002, the government of Eritrea has described the gathering as an Ethiopian campaign designed to overthrow it. This “axis of belligerence,” as the Eritrean government termed it, was designed to promote the Ethiopian agenda of destablizing the region, and that Sudan and Yemen were unwitting partners.
The Eritrean government has pointed to the Forum’s endorsement of Ethiopia’s “Five Point Plan” addendum to the ruling of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) and its subsequent support of Ethiopia’s military foray to Somalia to substantiate its allegation. Sudan and Yemen have countered that membership to the Forum is open to all, including Eritrea, (Somalia and Djibouti joined in 2004 and 2010 respectively) and that the Forum is as focused on trade as it is on regional security.
What is clear is that since its foundation in 2002, the Sana’a Forum, Ethiopia included, by its own admission (refer to Gedab News) has not offered much help to the Eritrean opposition groups. This has changed in 2010 with respect to Ethiopia: its government has informed the Eritrean opposition leaders that it had hesitated and sent mixed messages for long but will now pursue its national interest without reservation.
National Conference for Democratic Change
For nearly a week, over 300 Eritrean exiles delegated by political and civic organization in the Diaspora attended a “National Conference for Democratic Change” (NCDC) in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia beginning July 30, 2010. One of the outcomes of the Conference was the election of 53 Commissioners tasked with drafting a transitional constitution and laying the groundwork for a national congress.
The commissioners are the only group who owe their legitimacy to votes cast by individuals delegated by political organizations and the civil society. As such, the commissioners are not accountable to the Eritrean Democratic Alliance (EDA), the umbrella group of 11 Eritrean political organizations, but to the delegates who elected it, the majority of whom come from outside the EDA.
The Ethiopian government has indicated that while maintaining its relationship with the EDA, it will also deal directly with the Commissioners.
Meanwhile, the Eritrean People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), which boycotted the NCDC, issued a statement that it “has no obligation whatsoever to abide by the outcome of the event in Addis Ababa” and that it will endeavor to hold a “genuine national conference.”
The following is a list of the commissioners elected at the National Conference:
|Abdulkadir Hamid Ibrahim||EDA||Islamic Congress|
|Abdalla Hazot Mekal||Civil Society||Middle East|
|Abdu Osman kantebay||Civil Society||Australia|
|Abdulrahman Taha Nur||EDA||Nahda Party|
|Aisha Mussa Gaas||Civil Society||Europe|
|Alberto-Ardadi Abdalla||Civil Society||Ethiopia|
|Ali Mohamed Saed||EDA||Islah|
|Ali Suleiman Mohammed||EDA||Islah|
|Amha Domenico||Civil Society||Europe|
|Awadea Ali||Civil Society||Sudan|
|Bereket Kahsai||Civil Society||Europe/Youth|
|Berhane T. Habte|
|Berhane Yemane||Non-EDA Political Org||Ethiopia|
|Daniel Weldetensae||Civil Society||Europe|
|Daniel Tewelde||Civil Society||USA|
|Freweini Ghebresadik||Civil Society||Europe/Women|
|Hailemariam Tesfamichael||Non-EDA Political Org|
|Hassan Ali Asad||EDA||ELF|
|Herui T Bairu||Non-EDA Political Org|
|Ibrahim Mualim||Non-EDA Political Org|
|Ibrahim Shekh||Civil Society||Ethiopia|
|Idris Nuru||EDA||Nahda Party|
|Idrisay Mohamed Osman||EDA||EFDM|
|Jewahir Mohamed Ali||Civil Society||Women|
|Kibrom Berhane Debru||Civil Society||Canada|
|Kidane Tekle||Civil Society||Europe|
|Lettu Osman Agar||Civil Society||Women|
|Mohammed Ahmed Safar||EDA||EIPJD|
|Mohammed Saleh Abubaker||EDA||ELF|
|Muntasir Abdalla Said||Civil Society||Youth|
|Nasser Biniam Ali||EDA||DMLEK|
|Nesredin Ahmed Ali||EDA||RSADO|
|Netsereab Asmelash||Non-EDA Political Org|
|Ramadan Mohamed Nour||EDA||Islamic Congress|
|Saad M. Musa||Civil Society||USA|
|Saleh Hamde Salman||Civil Society||Australia|
|Saleh Sayed Hayoti||Civil Society||War Veterans|
|Samira Saleh||Civil Society||USA|
|Semere Ghebregziabher||Non-EDA Political Org||EPM|
|Shareef Mahmed Ahmed||Civil Society||Sudan|
|Tecklai Abraha||Civil Society||USA|
|Teclesenbet Teclai||Civil Society||Europe|
|Yassin Mohammed Abdalla||EDA||RSADO|