By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
September 5, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) – Sudan presidential assistant, Nafie Ali Nafie on Wednesday held talks with Ethiopian deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Hailemariam Desalegen, in the capital, Addis Ababa.
Nafie, who also is deputy chairman of the Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP), delivered his government’s message of condolence, sent to Ethiopia’s ruling Ethiopia Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) over the death of former PM Meles Zenawi who died on 20 August.
The two sides confered on bilateral relations and issues of common concerns.
The Sudanese official said the strong relations between the two parties, which were started during the leadership of Meles Zenawi - President Omar Al-Bashir backed Zenawi’s successful bid to overthrow the Derge regime in 1987- must further strengthened under Ethiopia’s current leadershiop.
Nafie lauded the late Prime Minister’s outstanding role played for a better future of Sudan and the continent in general.
The Ethiopian acting Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, to his side confirmed to the Sudanese official that, his country would continue to extend support for peace and stability in Sudan and in the entire region.
Zenawi who died at the age 57 after two months of illness, led Ethiopia for 21 years after toppling a dictatorial Derg regime. He had established excellent relations with both Sudan and South Sudan and his country is seen by both Sudans as an honest broker and has hosted post-partition talks.
The late premier had been personally involved in encouraging both sides to peacefully resolve their disputes and to resolve the SPLM-N conflict with Khartoum that began last year. The NCP has denied that Nafie will meet with members of the SPLM-N who are due to hold talks in Addis Ababa this week.
Talks between Sudan and South Sudan recommenced in Ethiopia this week. The two sides are expected to discuss the status of the Abyei area where Ethiopian peacekeepers have been stationed since fighting between the two sides of the contested oil-producing area last year.
The delegations from Khartoum and Juba will also address border and security issues as well as iron out the details of a deal for South Sudan to resume exporting oil through Sudan. An oil dispute over transit fees has meant that oil production has been stopped since January.
The acting Prime Minister, Hailemariam, is now expected to take over the government. Earlier government officials said HaileMariam was due to be sworn in at an emergency parliament session, shortly after Zenawis funeral ceremony on September 2.
However, the swearing in ceremony has been indefinitely postponed raising concerns from country’s opposition groups.
One of Ethiopia’s biggest opposition parties, the Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP), on Wednesday said the delay in appointing nation’s new premier would lead to a power vacuum.
“Since the death of the late PM Meles Zenawi the country is lead by an acting PM Haielmariam Desalegn. This situation is serious and the country is not in a full functional state” said the opposition group.
The national mourning period declared in honour of the late Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, ended on Wednesday, the national funeral committee announced.
The committee lauded the public for the love and respect it showed to the late Premier.