The Eritrean Dialogue Group meeting in Addis Ababa finished discussions on several issues and the seminar is expected to conclude today, Saturday, September 10, 2011.
Groups formed at the seminar discussed resistance, the Eritrean Diaspora affairs, media, refugees and youth issues. They also assessed the performance of the political organizations and debated the nature of the regime.
After a heated debate on the first two days, for the rest of the seminar, deliberations continued in a calm environment.
On Friday, the fifth day of the conference, the four groups formed earlier presented their findings and recommendations and the seminar went into discussing the role of Ethiopia in the resistance and the nature of the relations between the Eritrean resistance and Ethiopia. Bereket Simon, the Ethiopian Minister of Communication, explained his government’s position and views.
Leaders of political organizations also presented their views on the assessment of the Eritrean dialogue group vis-a-vis the opposition, which had been presented the previous day.
Also on Friday, the seminar charted strategies and tactics to carry out an outreach campaign targeting the youth, the Eritrean armed forces and other sectors of the Eritrean society, by exerting extra efforts to win over fence-sitters and indecisive elements.
By doing so, the seminar hoped to help as many people as possible to participate in the upcoming national congress and, at the same time, consented to fight back against all forces that relentlessly attack the resistance.
The seminar agreed on formulating a unified media message that would enhance the focus of all resistance forces in fighting the Eritrean authoritarian regime and its sympathizers.
On the contentious issues of defining the Eritrean regime, the seminar identified it as an authoritarian regime. Attendants also agreed on the premise that all social, political and other problems should only be resolved in a free and democratic Eritrea; and, at this moment, they agreed to focus on facing the regime.
Attendees are expected to organize seminars in their respective regions to spread the spirit and resolutions of the seminar.
Several task forces are expected to be formed from within the resistance forces to carry out several activities including diplomatic campaigns.
The Ethiopian government has hosted a similar seminar for the Eritrean political organizations between August 17th and 22nd. The Eritrean People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), which had just finished its congress, decided not to attend.
The EPDP does not support the upcoming conference which it has repeatedly characterized as the “failed congress,” and identifies the duly-elected commissioners charged with organizing the congress as “the so-called commission.”
The seminar will conclude today and a final statement is expected to be issued.
According to an attendant reached via Skype on Friday, “… attendants found a sort of closure to the different grievances that had been a hindrance to an orchestrated struggle against the Isaias regime.”
Another attendant reached by phone said, “…short of specifying an exact date to achieve our goals, we have planned how to usher democratic governance in Eritrea…I think that can be achieved in not more than three years.”