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Sudan Tribune

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Eritrean opposition urges Ethiopia to abide by border ruling

Jan 8, 2005 (Eritrea One) — Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Chairman of Eritrean Democratic Party (EDP) Mesfin Hagos meet twice, on 26 and 27 December 2004 in Khartoum, Sudan, and discussed issues of mutual concern. During the meeting, the EDP managed to fully utilize the occasion and brief the Ethiopian government on its policy and the stance it pursues.

Until today the details of the meeting was not made public. During the meeting EDP managed to inform to the Ethiopian government that:

– First, the existing border issue between Eritrea and Ethiopia must be resolved peacefully, but if it escalates in to war, it should be understood before hand that EDP will not have any other option but defend the sovereignty of the country;

– Secondly, Ethiopia should accept the boundary commission’s ruling without any hesitation, it said although it supports dialogue between the two countries but reiterated that it can be a hindrance if it is brought about as a precondition;

– Thirdly, it reiterated that meddling in internal affairs of Eritrean opposition organizations as a hindrance to the struggle, and urged the opposition to be left alone, as it can help the struggle for change to accelerate further.

It also managed to brief the Ethiopian government the party’s stance on the new Ethiopian five-point peace proposals.

Regarding the meeting it had with other opposition organizations, the EDP got the chance to express its stance and the desire to establish relations with them. It also took the opportunity to tell the other organizations to be cautious in handling the prevailing situation in order the future march [for change] to be successful.

It can be recalled that the Eritrean Democratic Party in its 2004 founding congress discussed in detail the role of “dialogue” in resolving political differences and issued a statement in that regard.

The other issue of importance discussed during the congress was regarding relations with neighbouring countries. Exploiting the third Sana’a Development Forum held in Khartoum, Sudan, Eritrean opposition groups managed to meet leaders of the Sana’a Forum member countries, which was already reported in international media.

Although the meeting had different angles, the one held with Ethiopia was given top priority. Putting in to consideration the historical and cultural ties between the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia, and recalling the relations and cooperation that had developed during the armed struggle, The EDP reiterated the importance of enhancing strong relations with the Ethiopian government that could help to bring peace and stability to the region, and development and prosperity to the two countries.

The Eritrean Democratic Party (EDP) called on the Ethiopian government to abide by the boundary commission’s ruling and implement it with out any hesitation. It also said that if a free and democratic government is to be established in Eritrea, the freedom of Eritrean opposition organizations should be respected and reiterated its interest to guard the organizations from being used as puppets by other forces or governments. In line with the said principles, and for clear and understandable reasons, the Democratic Party resolved to hold meetings with Ethiopian governments outside Addis Ababa.

Material from the BBC Monitoring Service, original text in Tigrinya.