Sudan’s Bashir on 3-day visit to Eritrea

June 13, 2013

June 12, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir begins on Thursday a three-day visit to Asmara where he will hold meetings with the Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki over bilateral relations between the two neighbours.
According to the Sudanese presidency Bashir’s delegation includes his presidency’ affairs minister Bakri Hassan Saleh, foreign affairs minister Ali Karti and the director of intelligence and security services Mohamed Atta.

“The two leaders will discuss the path of bilateral relations and ways to enhance joint cooperation between the two countries”, reported the state news agency SUNA on Wednesday.

This week, Al-Ayam newspaper disclosed that Afwerki had refused to allow SPLM-N rebels to open a new front against Bashir’s regime in eastern Sudan from his western border.

The independent daily reported that Afwerki had been approached last week by the SPLM-N leader Malik Agar and Yasir Arman, secretary general of the rebel group.

The SPLM-N, which formed an alliance with Darfur rebel groups, seeks to capitalise on the growing discontent of Beja ethnic group over the implementation of a peace treaty that Asmara sponsored with the former rebel East Front in October 2006.

Musa Mohamed Ahmed, presidential assistant and head of Eastern Front has reportedly left Khartoum to Asmara to protest the non-implementation of 2006 peace agreement.

Eritrea in the past supported the SPLM and other Sudanese rebel or opposition forces in their struggle against Khartoum government. However, Eritrea has bad relations with Juba which, after the signing of 2005 peace agreement, focused its efforts on the improvement of relations with its regional enemy Ethiopia.

On the other hand, Khartoum since improved its relations with the isolated regime in Asmara, as the two countries signed different political and economic accords. Sudan also banned the activities of Eritrean rebel groups from its territory.

In Khartoum, the opposition Eritrean Islam Islah (Reform) Movement on Wednesday announced that Sudanese security service arrested eight members of its military wing in Kassala, eastern Sudan , near the border with Eritrea.

Khartoum in the recent years was condemned by United Nations and rights groups for handing over Eritrean opponents to Asmara.

On October 17, 2011, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees condemned the Sudanese authorities for handing over 300 Eritreans to Asamara without screening them for refugee status.

Eritrea in the past accused Sudan of supporting Islamic groups who were carrying attacks against the government in the western province of Eritrea near the border.