Nations In The Hood: 9/21/03 SOURCE E-mail
By Awate Staff - Sep 23, 2003   

Summary Report

If you think the voices of the Eritrean opposition are shrill, you havenít heard the Ethiopian opposition.   Then maybe you will count your blessings.  And maybe you won't; read on.  But first on the Ethiopian opposition...

Consider the following: The Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF) warns ìall foreigners who would set foot on Afar soil to carry out a divide and demarcate the Afar people and territory would be held responsible for any consequences.î  Why?  Because ARDUF is opposed ìto the illegal act of dividing our Afar people.î  ARDUF is one the 15-member opposition umbrella movement recently formed by Ethiopians in the United States.  Meanwhile, the chairman of said umbrella group, Mr. Tuwat Pulchai, explained that the Ethiopian people ìabhors the weyane regimeî because the Ethiopian Birr has been devalued by 400%.   PS: Mr. Tuwat Pulchai was a member of the Derg's party.

Also in Ethiopia, the ìzeyhalfelu meníesey Ertraî who has been getting arrested in Malta, Italy and Libya for trying to escape the horrors of his government, met the same fate inÖ.Aksum, Ethiopia.  An UNMEE employee facilitated the escape of four Eritrean youth to Aksum, Ethiopia, according to ìThe Reporterî, where they were promptly arrested after they displayed very ìsuspiciousî activity ofÖ having a long-distance telephone conversation in Dutch. [Correction: should read "conversation in French."]

Meanwhile, reports Addis Zemen, Mr. Herui T Bairou, the Secretary General of the Eritrean National Alliance (ENA) and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi have had a falling-out because Meles has refused to release USD 4 million pledged by Ethiopia, Sudan and Yemen to the Alliance.  Why would Meles Zenawi do such a thing?  Explains the paper: ìThis clearly shows that they [Meles' group] do not want the fall of President Isayas Afewerki's government.î  So, there.   To protest, Herui T. Bairou has refused to return to Ethiopia.  There, that will teach Meles Zenawi a lesson.

In an interview with the London-based Al-Zaman, Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustapha Usman Ismail accuses the SPLA of dragging its feet on the peace negotiations because it expects the US Congress to take punitive measures against the Sudanese government on October 21, 2003.  The foreign minister, quoting Newsweek, states that the accusations of the ìreligious far rightî in the United Sates and the ìanti-Sudan organizations are false and slanderous.î

Sudanís ìAl-Anbaî reports that Eritrea has arrested Sudanese nationals in Asmara, Ghinda and Teseney.  The paper quotes officials of the Eritrean National Alliance disputing the Eritrean governmentís claim that the detentions had to do with expired residence permits.  The Sudanese nationals have reportedly ìdisappeared.î

Further south, in Somalia, Somalis held a demonstration to protest against 12 years of war.  So why is it that Somalis canít have a peace settlement?   It is because the nation's immediate neighborsóDjibouti, Ethiopia and Kenyaófear a prosperous Somalia because it has ìexpansionistî ambitions about some territories of all three nations.  So explainsÖthe former president of one of the nations, Kenyaís Daniel Moi, who can afford to be honest, now that he is retired from politics.

That is your update for the Nations in the Hood.  And what does the Eritrean opposition have to say about any of the above?  According to the BBC Monitoring Service, ìPlease note that the Eritrean opposition radio, Voice of the Eritrean People, did not carry news items on 21 September, saying that it did not have any.î 

Well, maybe you shouldnít count your blessings, yet.

Ethiopia: Rebel group warns border demarcation team not to set foot

BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Sep 23, 2003

site on 22 September

Washington DC, 22 September: Armed rebels operating in [eastern] Ethiopia's Red Sea Afar [Regional state] territory warned on Sunday [21 September] against the danger of the presence of foreigners who would be involved in the so-called border demarcation between Ethiopia and Eritrea next month.

The Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF), a rebel organization which has been fighting against the anti-Ethiopia regime of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the Eritrean regime of [President] Isayas Afewerki for many years, warned in its statement issued on 20 September 2003 that all foreigners who would set foot on Afar soil to carry out a divide and demarcate the Afar people and territory would be held responsible for any consequences.

"Our twin enemies, Sha'biyyah (Isayas Afewerki's) and weyane (Meles Zenawi's), have been, under the auspices of the United Nations, carrying out illegal acts of brigandage against our people. Let the whole world know that ARDUF is reiterating its firm stand as it did in 1990, 1991, 1993 and 2000 that it is not only opposed to the illegal act of dividing our Afar people and demarcating our soil under the guise of "border demarcation" between Ethiopia and Eritrea, but also ready to render any demarcation exercise ineffective," ARDUF underscored.

ARDUF has been fighting the Eritrean regime of Isayas Afewerki and the masked Eritrean agent of Ethiopia, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, since both anti-Ethiopia leaders helped Eritrea break away from Ethiopia in 1991, thus annexing Ethiopia's Red Sea littoral, which left Ethiopia landlocked.

ARDUF is one of 15 Ethiopian opposition parties that formed the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF), an opposition grouping which has vowed to remove Meles and reverse all agreements signed between Meles and Isayas.

Source: Ethiomedia web site in English 0001 gmt 22 Sep 03

© BBC Monitoring


Ethiopian opposition leader says people "abhors" ruling party

BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Sep 23, 2003

Former WPE [Workers' Party of Ethiopia of Mengistu Hailemariam's regime] member and the current chairman of the [opposition] Ethiopia's United Patriotic Front [EUPF] in an interview with one radio station has said that he is a person who is struggling for a united Ethiopia in collaboration or unity with other opposition party.

In an extensive interview on the current situation in Ethiopia , Mr Tuwat Palchai [chairman of the EUPF] has said that the weyane [Ethiopia] regime's 12 years in power was a failure. [Passage omitted].

He said Meles is not well accepted in Tigray today. He said Ethiopia had a strong currency in Africa, but with the advent of the weyane regime it depreciated by 300 per cent and now it has depreciated further - by 400 per cent. He said as a result the Ethiopian people abhors the weyane regime. [Passage omitted].

Source: Wonchif, Addis Ababa, in Amharic 23 Sep 03

© BBC Monitoring

Ethiopia: UN mission accused of smuggling four Eritreans

BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Sep 22, 2003

web site on 21 September

It has been learnt that four Eritreans have been arrested in Aksum [northern Ethiopia] after being smuggled from Asmara into the country by a vehicle belonging to the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, UNMEE.

The Eritreans were arrested after a tip off by the public. It has been learnt that the three women and a man were transported from Asmara to Aksum by two UNMEE vehicles on 30 Nehase 1995 [5 September 2003]. One of the drivers has been identified as a Kenyan member of UNMEE called David.

Our correspondent in Aksum reported that the Eritreans were arrested when residents tipped off security forces about seeing the young male Eritrean making a call to Holland at Africa Hotel. It has been reported that the Eritreans arrived in Aksum at 10 a.m. [local time] in the morning and moved freely until 8 p.m. [local time] in the evening, during which they made international calls.

Suspicion grew when the young man kept making international calls and spoke in French. Residents said they were suspicious of the fact that the Eritreans sought political asylum after being arrested.

Regarding the four Eritreans who admitted arriving in Aksum with the help of UNMEE, the residents urged the government and the public at large to monitor the peacekeeping force because it was carrying out activities incompatible with its mission.

Source: The Reporter web site, Addis Ababa, in English 21 Sep 03

© BBC Monitoring


Eritrea: Behaviour of opposition radio on 21 September

BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Sep 21, 2003

Please note that the Eritrean opposition radio, Voice of the Eritrean People, did not carry news items on 21 September, saying that it did not have any.

Source: BBC Monitoring research in English 21 Sep 03

© BBC Monitoring


Eritrean opposition leader disagrees with Ethiopian prime minister

BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Sep 23, 2003


According to a report, serious rift has emerged between Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and anti-sha'biyyah [anti-Eritrean government] forces.

The report quoting reliable sources say that some 4m dollars was donated by the governments of Sudan and Yemen and deposited at an Ethiopian bank in aid of the anti-sha'biyyah forces. However, Mr Meles refused to release the said amount to the [Eritrean] opposition group and in protest the leader of the Eritrean National Alliance [ENA], Mr Hiruy Tedla Bairu [secretary general of the organization], has refused to return to Addis Ababa.

According to the report, Mr Hiruy, opposing Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's action, is currently in Italy and planning to go to Sweden [refusing to return to Addis Ababa, because Addis Ababa was the base of ENA].

According to some political pundits, Meles' group while on the one hand is pushing Eritrean opposition groups to carry out subversive activities in Eritrea, he is refusing to release the said amount on the other. This clearly shows that they [Meles' group] do not want the fall of President Isayas Afewerki's government. Prime Minister Meles is luring other loyal people to replace Mr Hiruy Tedla.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that the ELF-RC [Eritrean Liberation Front - Revolutionary Council], one of the main Eritrean opposition group, is divided in to three groups. According to the report, the three groups - supporters of Ahmad Nasir [former ELF-RC chairman], Seyoum Oqubamikael [current ELF-RC chairman] and that of Muhammad Ali Ibrahim - are currently fighting each other.

Adding insult to injury, Mr Abdallah Idris [chairman of the Eritrean National Alliance], who is said to be one of the main opposition leaders, is currently in hospital in London. Although, he did an operation, still he is in a critical condition.

According to political pundits, If he [Abdallah Idris] dies or become unable to join the struggle, the anti-sha'biyyah opposition group will be affected tremendously. It was also reported that Mr Abdallah has negative attitude on the Meles group.

Source: Addis Zemen, Addis Ababa, in Amharic 23 Sep 03

© BBC Monitoring


Sudan: Minister accuses US church groups of seeking to "damage" Islam

BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Sep 22, 2003

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Uthman Isma'il has said that "nobody should feel annoyed" over the long time being spend by the country's warring parties in peace talks in Kenya. He said despite the obstacles being encountered by the parties, the Sudanese government remained "optimistic" that peace will be achieved with the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army, SPLA. Isma'il however, admitted that he does not expect this to happen during the next round of negotiations. He also accused some American Christian organizations of supporting SPLA in an attempt "to damage Islam and the religious coexistence in the country".

The following is the text of interview in Cairo with Mustafa Umara by London-based newspaper Al-Zaman on 15 September: subheadings inserted editorially;

[Umara] There is some ambiguity surrounding the negotiations, given their long duration and the difference of views between the two parties on the implementation of the IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] document.

[Isma'il] Nobody should feel annoyed with the long duration of these negotiations and the impasse that has sometimes marred the talks between the two parties. The negotiations are still going on, as they are dealing with issues that are at the centre of the conflict. This is because our aim is to achieve a comprehensive peace.

There is awareness from both parties about the importance of making these negotiations a success, bearing in mind that the alternative, if these negotiations were to fail, would be war, from which we have suffered for a long time. This is the reason why we are anxious to maintain the secrecy of these negotiations. Therefore, we will not reveal anything to the press until we reach a final solution.

[Umara] But some people have criticized these negotiations because they involve two sides only. When will the opposition parties be involved in this process as well?

[Isma'il] President Al-Bashir has recently met a delegation representing all political parties. He explained to them the outcome of the negotiations. He also listened to their requests. This is because our aim is to achieve a comprehensive peace and a fair redistribution of resources and power. Besides, the ballot box will decide who will be in charge of the country's destiny.

[Umara] Do you view the next round as the final step toward a lasting peace agreement?

[Isma'il] I do not expect the next round of negotiations to be the last one that would lead to the signing of a peace agreement. This is due to some objective and political reasons. The objective ones are linked to the fact that we still need time and a tremendous effort to reach a general agreement with the [rebel] SPLA [Sudan People's Liberation Army].

As for the political reasons, they have to do with the fact that one of the parties involved in the negotiations, the SPLA, has been repeatedly showing intransigence and dragging its feet, with the aim of keeping the status quo until 21 October 2003, in order to see what kind of measures the US Congress would take against the Sudanese government. This is why we do not expect a speedy resolution of the conflict, as we would have wanted.

Despite all that, we are optimistic, because the will of the Sudanese in the north as well as in the south is directed toward peace. It is difficult for any of the parties to deviate from the road to peace without suffering some political setback. Both parties are currently anxious to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the international environment.

Any party that misses such an opportunity would be the biggest loser. We are optimistic that we will sign a peace agreement, but not during the next round of negotiations.

Uthman-Garang meeting

[Umara] Was the meeting between [First Vice-President] Ali Uthman [Taha] and [SPLA leader,] John Garang, an alternative to a possible Garang-Al-Bashir summit? How true is the information that Ali Uthman has declined to be prime minister if a peace agreement is reached?

[Isma'il] The meeting between Uthman and Garang was not an alternative to a summit that would have taken place between Garang and Al-Bashir. It was in fact a prelude to such a summit. Because some previous attempts failed, it was necessary to prepare this summit.

As for the [alleged] refusal by Ali Uthman to become prime minister, it is to be said that he, himself, announced that he would be ready to take up such a position if it was in the interest of Sudan.

[Umara] Is it true that the cause for the latest crisis was the fact that the SPLA refused to discuss the issue of partnership?

[Isma'il] In fact, it is an old issue that was raised when the Machakos protocol was signed. The SPLA insisted on it as a matter of confidence-building gesture. The protocol stipulates the formation of a cabinet with the participation of the government and the SPLA. We then said that we needed to build confidence between the two major parties. In fact, we are heading for the formation of the government in order to avoid being quarrelsome partners.

[Umara] The government has indicated that it was subjected to some pressure from some international parties. Does it mean that the aim of this pressure is to compel the government to make some concessions?

[Isma'il] Instead of using the word "pressure," let us use "desire." There is a strong desire, from the Sudanese people, the Arabs, the Africans and the international community, to stop the war and restore peace. There is also a desire to see Sudan taking advantage of its wealth and resources.

This desire was reflected by the continuous presence of these forces on the negotiation arena and in the follow-up of the negotiation process. You also find these forces moving from Khartoum to Nairobi, Cairo and Washington.

They are all channelled toward the success and the speeding up of the process leading to a peace agreement.

Relations with neighbours

[Umara] Did the recent events that occurred in the west of Sudan have any link with the peace process and the SPLA?

[Isma'il] Following events in the west and the east, the SPLA wrongly believes that the government is in its worst state. This false message is being conveyed by the SPLA to various parties concerned with the peace process. It is true that the government admits the existence of problems. It is endeavouring to solve them, whether in the west, the east or the south.

But in the past, the government went through more difficult circumstances than the ones currently experienced. In the early nineties, the government was indeed facing the escalation of the war in the south and another in the east.

This is in addition to the intervention of neighbouring countries such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, the DRCongo and Uganda. This foreign intervention took place in 1997 and looked like a coalition [against Sudan]. Besides, the government was subjected to a tough siege by the US. The situation is not the same today, as the government has improved its relations with the neighbouring countries, apart from Eritrea. It has also opened up its relations with European countries. Over all, the government has established better relations with foreign countries.

It is certain that we are now in a better position than before. However, we would like to use such a momentum to achieve peace and not to continue the war.

Plane incident in west

[Umara] How about the plane shot down by the Sudanese army in the west of the country? What was the motivation behind such an incident?

[Isma'il] Frankly speaking, the Sudanese government will not hesitate to deter anyone who attempts to tamper with the country's security and capabilities. The plane, which was dealt with by the government forces in the province of north Darfur, was a foreign aircraft that had infiltrated a region marked by security tensions. The government forces resorted to a deterrent approach to deal with this plane.

It is in fact the duty of the Sudanese armed forces to defend the security of the country and to guarantee the safety of the Sudanese territories. We would like to pay tribute to the courage shown by the armed forces in dealing with this aircraft.

This plane belongs to the company [name of firm withheld]," which is owned by an individual based in Great Britain. The SPLA hired this aircraft to carry out missions involving the transportation of weapons and ammunitions. In addition, the plane was engaged in transporting individuals and evacuating the wounded among the rebels. It was also flying regularly between the Kenyan base of Lokichoggio [northwestern Kenya] and many regions in the north of Bahr al-Ghazal, the equatorial province, and the south of the heights of Nile.

This aircraft has flown many times to certain parts of the war zone in Darfur. Its missions covered the region of Malwal Kon, which is under government control, and various regions in Darfur, in addition to the heights of Nile. During such missions, this aircraft transported quantities of ammunitions, military equipment and supplies.

In addition, it was used to transport gangs of armed looters, destined for some training. It was also used to bring back to Darfur members of the gangs at the end of their training sessions.

The aircraft also carried groups of Dinka tribe members to the region of Jabal Sarir (province of west Darfur) to take part in training some young elements of the gangs. Most of these young trainees are under the control of the rebels in Darfur. The aircraft took off from the Kenyan base of Lokichoggio before landing at Malwal Kon airport in the north of Bahr al-Ghazal. It was loaded with quantities of supplies and ammunitions destined for the rebels in Darfur. It was also supposed to evacuate the injured among the gangs of armed looters. This evacuation was part of ongoing missions to a SPLA hospital in the region of "New isde" [as published] in the east of the equatorial province.

The movements of the aircraft were constantly monitored and this is why it was dealt with the moment it landed and started to prepare to unload. A group of unlawful people who were waiting for the aircraft were killed.

This is the kind of treatment reserved for anyone who attempts to tamper with Sudan's capabilities, security and stability.

US-Sudan relations

[Umara] What is the truth regarding the contacts between Khartoum and Washington, in light of the report published by Newsweek about [US] financial and technical support to the SPLA?

[Isma'il] These contacts have been conducted through our embassy in Washington. They involved US official circles and lobbies that have an impact on the public opinion. The aim was to explain the dimensions of what we consider as a clear targeting of Sudan and its march toward peace by the religious far right elements within the US Congress. This campaign is being clearly supported by Christian Solidarity. It also involves the training of SPLA members by a US security firm.

Our embassy in Washington has sent messages to all parties concerned with the Sudanese issue, including the official circles and lobbies that have influence over the public opinion. It also continued its intensive contacts regarding this matter in order to confirm that the information published by Newsweek supports the position of the government. The latter has been repeatedly drawing the attention to the fact that some US circles were orchestrating an anti-Sudan campaign.

The information currently published by Newsweek unveils the truth about the unfair campaign directed by the religious far right and the anti-Sudan organizations. The Newsweek report confirms indeed that [government] efforts are channelled toward peace and stability. It also shows that the accusations of the far right and the anti-Sudan organizations are false and slanderous. Their aim is to shake Sudan's security and to take advantage of the situation in the south of the country in an attempt to damage Islam and the religious coexistence in the country.

As for the [Newsweek] report itself, it revealed that the SPLA had received 3 million dollars in cash from Christian Solidarity, led by [name withheld].

The report also mentioned a US security firm based in Colorado [being involved in training SPLA rebels].

Source: Al-Zaman, London, in Arabic 15 Sep 03

© BBC Monitoring


Eritrean authorities reportedly detaining Sudanese nationals in Asmara

BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Sep 19, 2003

In a surprising development, Eritrean security and police authorities have carried out campaigns to detain a number of Sudanese residents in the capital, Asmara, and the towns of Ginda and Teseny [northern Eritrea].

A prominent official in the Eritrean Ministry of Interior told Eritrean radio that the campaigns were carried out by the passport department and immigration and were aimed at reviewing residence permits and papers to settle the state of foreign residents in Eritrea.

However, sources from the opposition Eritrean National Alliance told SMC [Sudanese Media Centre] that the statement of the Eritrean official was untrue and pointed out that the campaigns were aimed at Sudanese nationals only, adding that a number of them had been taken to camps outside town and were being detained under appalling conditions.

The sources added that a number of Sudanese who had been arrested last week had disappeared.

According to the same sources, Eritrean army units have cordoned off all camps of Sudanese opposition and announced that all people living in these camps were subject to house arrest for the time being until the end of peace negotiations in Naivasha.

Source: Al-Anba, Khartoum, in Arabic 19 Sep 03


Thousands protest against 12 years of war

The Independent - United Kingdom; Sep 22, 2003

SOMALIA: More than 3,000 people held an anti-war demonstration yesterday in Mogadishu, after the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in famine and war over the past 12 years. Separate rallies were held by students and women's groups in the safety of schoolyards to minimise security risks in a city holding an estimated 60,000 militiamen. "Only someone who doesn't have peace knows its true value," said Yusuf Ali, a vegetable seller.


Kenyan former president blames Somali conflict on neighbouring states

BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Sep 19, 2003


Regional suspicion of Somalia's expansionist dreams has been cited as a drawback in that country's peace efforts. Retired President Daniel Moi said that at independence, Somalia was claiming parts of Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia and initiating armed conflicts to try and realize this dream. Its neighbours feared that a reunited and prosperous nation might resurrect Somalia's territorial claims.

Mr Moi, who was speaking at the American Defence University in Washington, said the bitter disagreements and conflicts in Sudan began soon after independence in 1956. He warned that unstable countries without organized and functional systems might be fertile grounds for terrorism.

On the East African Community, Mr Moi told his hosts that by November this year, the three member states hoped to sign a customs union to integrate their economies. "It is the dream of East Africans that after integrating their economies, negotiations will begin for an East African Federation, which will ultimately take in Rwanda and Burundi," he said.

Mr Moi thanked the assistant secretary of state for African Affairs, Mr Walter Kansteiner and a former US Ambassador to Kenya, Mr Johnnie Carson for the facilitation of his current visit to the US The former head of state had earlier held lengthy discussions with Mr Kansteiner at the state department headquarters.

Source: Daily Nation web site, Nairobi, in English 19 Sep 03

© BBC Monitoring