From: Biniam Tekle (email@example.com)
Date: Sat Mar 06 2010 - 13:50:48 EST
Eritrea proposes delay to Sudan elections and referendum
March 5, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – The Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki has
recommended to his Sudanese counterpart Omer Hassan Al-Bashir a 2-year delay
to the April national elections and the 2011 referendum in South Sudan, an
official in Asmara said today.
Sudan state media Bashir today concluded a one day visit to Eritrea for
talks with Afewerki on the elections, progress of the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement (CPA) and the Darfur conflict.
Relations between the two countries have been strained lately over Khartoum
non-rejection to Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
statement last year calling for imposing sanctions on Asmara for its role in
aiding and arming the Islamist rebels.
In December 2009, the UNSC heeded to the request and slapped asset freezes
and travel bans on the government as well as individuals and companies.
Bashir reversed his country’s position expressing solidarity with Eritrea in
the face of the sanctions saying that Sudan has managed to wither the
effects of similar bans imposed by the UNSC and other countries in the past.
The Eritrean presidential adviser Abdullah Gabir told the London based
Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that his government fears the April elections could deepen
the rift in the country adding that polls are a tool and “not a goal in
“Two years ago we proposed to the National Congress Party (NCP) and the
Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) a two year postponement to the
elections and the South Sudan referendum to prepare the environment and
clean the field for all Sudanese parties” Gabir said.
He suggested that the NCP would not object to delaying the elections on the
condition that the referendum would be pushed back as well.
The Eritrean official revealed that they gave a specific suggestion to
conduct the referendum first and if it comes in favor of unity then
elections can be held in the entire country otherwise they will take place
in two separate states.
However, Bashir rejected the idea and insisted to carry the elections and
the referendum as planned. Gabir stressed that situation in Sudan is not
conducive given pending CPA disputes and Darfur conflict.
Last month it was reported that Egypt was pressing both parties on the same
proposal but it was not clear what the response from Sudan’s rivals.
The SPLM has vehemently refused any move to postpone the referendum process
and many think tank groups fear a return to civil war should the self
determination process be disrupted. However, many post-referendum issues
have yet to be addressed particularly nationality, national debt, water
agreement with the border demarcation process well behind schedule.
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