See also:
» 06.05.2011 - Eritrean opposition pleads intl intervention
» 02.03.2011 - Calm Eritrea avoids talks of rebellion
» 21.09.2010 - Eritrea "heading towards failed state"
» 11.12.2009 - 30 Christian women arrested in Eritrea
» 21.10.2009 - Eritrea is the bottom last in Press Freedom Index 2009
» 27.05.2009 - Eritrea rejects release of Swedish journalist
» 16.04.2009 - Eritrea’s human rights violations deepen the rights crisis, HRW
» 21.07.2008 - Eritrea President wants "media war"

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Eritrea | Sudan

Eritrea attacks Sudan, deepens isolation

afrol News, 19 October - The Eritrean government this week increased the verbal attacks against Sudan, claiming there was a Sudanese-Ethiopian plot to kill President Issayas Afewerki. Meanwhile, the country slips deeper into isolation as all borders are closed, aid flows are drying up and access to non-censored information gets further limited.

Eritrea's Information Minister Ali Abdu Ahmed on Monday enhanced the verbal warfare with eastern neighbour Sudan. The Khartoum government "continues to step up its attempts to disrupt peace and stability in Eritrea and the region by pursuing its process of government terrorism and assassination attempts against the President," claimed the Eritrean Minister.

The government of the Sudan, added Minister Abdu, had "tumbled into a marriage of convenience with the Addis Ababa regime by involving itself in an unholy alliance" against Eritrea. Eritrea remains at the brink of war with its southern neighbour, Ethiopia, after a UN monitored peace process stalled in 2002.

The Sudanese government has answered Asmara's allegations by stating that Eritrea's support for Sudanese rebels indeed demonstrated that it was Eritrea that wanted to topple the government in Khartoum, and not otherwise.

Relations between Khartoum and Asmara have been tense for many years, but started deteriorating gravely after the Eritrean regime turned isolationalist during last four years. Since 2002, Sudan has accused Eritrea of harbouring and training anti-Khartoum rebels - claims that are widely accepted by the international community. Consequently the neighbours' border has been closed since 2002.

Eritrea slowly has slipped into isolation after its ultra-nationalistic People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) - the only legal party - turned authoritarian in the end-1990s. The 1998-2000 border war with Ethiopia strengthened President Afewerki's grip on the party, which he in 2001 used to gain absolute powers by imprisoning pro-democracy dissidents and closing down the independent press.

With increased repression, Eritrea soon lost support from generous Western donor countries and has become increasingly isolated from the West. According to the Asmara Ministry of Information, however, Eritrea is achieving "progress and development not through assistance, donations and beggary at the doors and clubs of donor organisations, but through depending on self-reliance." At the same time, the government is complaining over "insufficient international attention" on the effects of drought in Eritrea.

The last year has also seen a row between Eritrea and the African Union (AU) and the UN. Eritrea withdrew its ambassador from the AU because the union had failed to condemn Ethiopia, while Asmara accused UN peacekeepers of posing a security threat to the country. Eritrea also was found guilty of grave human rights violations by a landmark ruling of the AU Commission.

Meanwhile, the PFDJ regime is increasing its verbal warfare against Ethiopia, Sudan, the West and other foreign enemies it sees conspiring against Eritrea. President Afewerki only today complained about the "anti-Eritrea agitation campaign" that had been carried out by Ethiopian diplomats "during the past six years."

As the Asmara government rapidly has lost its international credibility, the regular outbursts against conspiring foreign powers are mainly aimed at the domestic public in Eritrea. Here, the state-controlled press carefully reproduces the government's messages of the PFDJ being "Africa's symbol of freedom and dignity," successes in achieving Africa's "greatest rate of economic growth without seeking foreign help" and envious neighbours threatening Eritrea's achievements.

Asmara authorities are not unaware that a growing number of Eritreans are trying to flee the deepening poverty and repression in the country. They meet this challenge by furthering isolation. Border controls are stepped up and information from abroad is filtered even stricter. Internet cafes are now only to be allowed in supervised public places, such as public schools and libraries, the Ministry of Communication today announced.

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