Gedab News has learned that an Eritrean students conference is expected to be held in Ethiopia beginning on Monday August 13, 2012.
The seminar is expected to be attended by over three-hundred people and it was conceived by, organized by, and will be held under the auspices of, the Ethiopian Government.
Until Thursday, it didn’t appear that most of the Eritrean opposition forces stationed in Ethiopia were informed or invited to the conference.
The National Council (Bayto, Mejlis) was invited on Thursday, four days before the conference date, to deliver a speech at the conference.
This is the third Eritrean conference that Ethiopia has hosted in less than a year.
On September 5th, 2011 a conference of Eritrean “intellectuals and professionals” was convened for a week. On July 7th, 2012, a 10-day conference was organized for an “Eritrean Youth Discussion Forum.”
The manner in which these conferences are organized and Ethiopia’s role in them has created a rift within the Eritrean opposition movement with one side saying that the process is secretive and undemocratic; yields greater-than-necessary role to Ethiopia; and undermines the duly-elected National Council; and the other side saying that any conference that promotes dialogue and discussion among Eritreans is intrinsically good; that there is no reason that everything should be subordinated to the National Council and that there is no evidence that Ethiopia has acted in any manner other than a host nation.