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Eritrea, NCDC & The Sana’a Forum

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 Commissioners

The following is a list of the commissioners elected at the National Conference:

Name Affiliation Details
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
Abdulkerim Mustafa EDA EIPJD
Aisha Mussa Gaas Civil Society Europe
Alberto-Ardadi Abdalla Civil Society Ethiopia
Alem Ghebremichael EDA Sagem
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
Gebremichael Askale EDA ENSF
Habte Tesfamariam EDA ENSF
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
Jambo Welday EDA Sagem
Jewahir Mohamed Ali Civil Society Women
Kerneliyos Osman EDA DMLEK
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
Saied Ismaiel
Saleh Hamde Salman Civil Society Australia
Saleh Sayed Hayoti Civil Society War Veterans
Saleh Sabah EDA EFDM
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
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