Full Text: UN Panel of Experts Report on Sudan

Sunday, 28 January 2024 22:40 Written by

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Martin Plaut posted: " Source: Sudan War Monitor Plus: Updates on political and military developments 23 JAN 2024 A report by a five-member panel of researchers appointed by the UN Security Council details conflict dynamics in Darfur and violations of a long-stand" Martin Plaut Read on blog or reader

Full Text: UN Panel of Experts Report on Sudan

Martin Plaut

Jan 24

Source: Sudan War Monitor

Plus: Updates on political and military developments

23 JAN 2024

A report by a five-member panel of researchers appointed by the UN Security Council details conflict dynamics in Darfur and violations of a long-standing UN arms embargo, including by the United Arab Emirates.

The report estimates the death toll of the ethnic cleansing in El Geneina last year at 10,000 to 15,000—substantially higher than previous estimates. This toll, if accurate, would exceed the Srebrenica massacre of 1995, which is remembered as the worst mass murder in Europe since World War II.

The New York TimesReuters, and Bloomberg first reported this and other findings of the UN Panel several days ago, but this is the first time that the report is published in full. The UN has not yet officially released the document.

The UN Panel of Experts collected evidence of the El Geneina killings from over 120 victims and eyewitnesses, as well as documentary and photographic evidence already gathered by civil society organizations and UN agencies. The Panel concluded, “The attacks were planned, coordinated, and executed by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and their allied Arab militias.”

Like the Hutu against Tutsi massacres of 1994, these killings were carried out on an ethnic basis by the predominantly Arab RSF against the Masalit tribe. Recruitment and preparations for the massacres began before the outbreak of the civil war between the RSF and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), demonstrating the close connection between the RSF’s bid for national power and the more local battle for ethnic supremacy in Darfur.

The UN report stated,

“The largest mobilization (of Arab fighters) within El Geneina took place weeks before 15 April, when clashes in Khartoum commenced, and went on until 24 April (phase 1 of the conflict in El Geneina). These militias were assembled in various areas in El Geneina and surrounding areas… RSF established local headquarters in neighborhoods that served as operations centers.”

“In addition, allied militias established their own operational centres which were frequently visited by RSF officers for coordination purposes.”

These details add to the growing body of evidence implicating the RSF directly in this mass atrocity, including Sirba, Mornei, and Masterei.

Despite the ethnic nature of the killings, the report stressed, “It is important to note that not all members of the Arab communities were involved in the violence, and that many actively protected the Masalit people. Masalit individuals found refuge in the homes of their Arab neighbors, who assisted them in escaping to Adré, Chad.”

UN Panel of Experts Report on Sudan S/2023/93

18.6MB ∙ PDF file

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Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 2676 (2023)

UAE supplied weapons to the perpetrators

Citing sources among armed groups and tribal leaders in eastern Chad and Darfur, the UN Panel corroborated earlier reports that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) provided weapons to the Rapid Support Forces. The oil-rich Gulf Arab nation had a relationship with the RSF since before the current war, having employed its members as mercenaries in Yemen.

Flights trackers documented the cargo flights from the UAE to the eastern Chadian town of Amdjaras. From there, the local sources reported that weapons and ammunition were loaded on trucks and taken into Darfur in small convoys, where they were handed over to the RSF.

“RSF transported the shipments to their base in Zuruk (Um Baru Locality, North Darfur). Some weapons were then distributed to RSF positions in Darfur, while most were transported from Zuruk to Khartoum through desert roads… Several RSF filed commanders, chosen for their knowledge of the border area and desert routes, oversaw the transportation of the weapons in to Darfur and Sudan... These large-scale and sustained supplies ranged from small and light weapons to UCAVs (drones), anti-aircraft missiles, mortars and various types of ammunition.”

By engaging in these arms transfers, the UAE violated a UN Security Council arms embargo that was imposed nearly two decades ago, in 2004.

The current panel of experts was mandated to monitor compliance with that ban. The five-member team, appointed two weeks before the outbreak of the current civil war, included members from Colombia, France, Russia, Sweden, and Kenya.

The UAE’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations issued a letter of reply to the UN Panel, which was included as an annex to the report. The letter does not specifically deny supplying weapons to the RSF, though it affirms the UAE’s “continued commitment to comply with its obligations under the sanctions regime [arms embargo] established by the Security Council.” It also detailed humanitarian shipments that it sent to Amdjarass, including the tonnage of various supplies, and it invited hte Panel of Experts to visit a field hospital it built in the Chadian border town.

Open-source researchers who specialize in flight tracking have doubted that so many flights would be needed for just building a field hospital. The UAE admitted to sending 122 flights to Amdjarass.

The report also detailed supplies of weapons arriving to Sudan from Libya and the Central African Republic. Previous reporting has indicated that some supplies via Central Africa came from the Wagner mercenary group—though this was not mentioned in the report. Furthermore, the report detailed a fuel supply line established by the RSf through South Sudan.

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European Union sanctions Sudanese businesses

The European Union has sanctioned six companies that it says are linked to the warring parties in Sudan. In a press release, the European Council stated,

“Among the entities listed are two companies involved in the manufacture of weapons and vehicles for the SAF (Defense Industries System and SMT Engineering); the SAF-controlled Zadna International Company for Investment Limited and three companies involved in procuring military equipment for the RSF (Al Junaid Multi Activities Co Ltd, Tradive General Trading and GSK Advance Company Ltd). The entities listed are subject to asset freezes. The provision of funds or economic resources, directly or indirectly, to them or for their benefit is prohibited.”

The United States and United Kingdom had already sanctioned some of these firms.

In Brief

·        A landmine explosion on a bus near Shendi in River Nile State has claimed ten lives, and is believed to be the first deadlye landmine explsion of the war.

·        An atmosphere of paranoia has gripped Kassala State, amid fears of an “internal attack,” according to a state media report January 20.

·        A French nonprofit, Promediation, working with the French and Egyptian foreign ministries, has convened a workshop in Cairo with the participation of several different Darfur armed groups, aimeding to reduce tensions in the region.

·        Bank of Khartoum laid off 1,215 employees, representing 45% of its staff nationally, another step in an ongoing economic collapse. The bank has 125 branches, dozens of which were closed, including some that were looted.

·        The Sennar State government along with military and security authorities held a mass rally for “popular resistance” in Al-Suki Locality. As reported by the state news agency SUNA, the governor in his remarks praised hte purported role of the “popular resistance “ in repelling an RSF incursion in the Jebel Muya area. The deputy commander of the 17th Infantry Division and the police commander in the state also spoke at the rally, praising and encouraging the arming of civilians.

·        The Ad-Douiem garrison held a parade for 1,200 trainee soldiers January 21, SUNA reported, overseen by Col Hamad Barshom, commander of the brigade based in Ad-Douiem, and Lt Col Muhammad Suleiman, the reserve commander.Parade for cadets in Ad-Douiem, White Nile State

·        A fire broke out in the Dharaba mine, which is about 30 kilometers away from the Songo area in South Darfur. Field sources deny that it was bombed by aircraft, despite media reports talking about aerial bombardments that affected the area.

·        Former Darfur armed movements in El Fasher, which are neutral in the current war, participated in a workshop by Nonviolent Peaceforce yesterday to discuss compliance with international laws on protection of civilians.

·        11 people were killed, including seven women and two children, in addition to one wounded, in an airstrike carried out by the Sudanese air force on the village of Ib Khubub west of the city of Mujlad in West Kordofan on Sunday. A local tribal leader, Omda Al-Jak Suleiman, told Radio Dabanga on Monday that an Antonov plane dropped 5 explosive barrels on the village.

·        RSF troop movements were observed yesterday nearby Mujlad, in the town of Babanusa, West Kordofan, amid escalating threats to attack the 22nd Infantry Division, according to our monitoring of unofficial RSF social media pages. Limited clashes were reported this morning in the city.

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Martin Plaut posted: " Source: Daily Telegraph How Lord Cameron rolled out the red carpet for the UAE Plus, we look at how the Gulf state’s network of influence is spreading throughout the UK Investigations team and Gordon Rayner, ASSOCIATE EDITOR23 Jan" Martin Plaut Read on blog or reader

 

Martin Plaut

Jan 24

Source: Daily Telegraph

How Lord Cameron rolled out the red carpet for the UAE

Plus, we look at how the Gulf state’s network of influence is spreading throughout the UK

Gordon Rayner, ASSOCIATE EDITOR23 January 2024 • 11:01pm

Cameron / UAE

Three years after becoming prime minister, Lord Cameron set up a secretive Whitehall unit codenamed Project Falcon.

Its job was to court the oil-rich sheikhs of the United Arab Emirates with the aim of persuading them to invest billions in the UK.

The unit’s work was so politically sensitive that the Government did not even admit to its existence for two years, and only then after a Freedom of Information battle.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was to the UAE that the former premier went for part of his portfolio of jobs after he quit No 10 in 2016, earning an estimated £470,000 for making four speeches in the autocratic state, as well as taking a part-time teaching role at a university in Abu Dhabi.

Nor is he alone in establishing connections with the Gulf state: almost 100 current and former MPs and peers – including eight ministers – have declared financial links to the UAE in the past decade.

Now Lord Cameron is back in government, newly ennobled and with a brief as Foreign Secretary that gives him responsibility for relations with the UAE – which wants to add The Telegraph to its growing collection of British assets.

Lord Cameron has publicly insisted he will play “no role” in the Emirati-backed bid for The Telegraph, but senior Tory sources have disclosed that in private he has told colleagues the UAE should be allowed to own the publisher of this media group.

This has become “a source of strain with other ministers”, according to one figure within the party, who believes it gives rise to a potential conflict of interest.

This Friday, Lucy Frazer, the Culture Secretary, will receive a report from Ofcom, the media regulator, which has been reviewing the proposed sale of The Telegraph. She must then decide whether to allow the sale to go ahead or to ask the Competition and Markets Authority to carry out a separate review of the bid.

She finds herself at the centre of an increasingly political business transaction involving the potential ownership of a major British media asset by a country with a poor record on press freedom.

Lord Cameron on the Dubai Metro in 2012 heading to the World Trade Centre with His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum

Lord Cameron on the Dubai Metro in 2012 heading to the World Trade Centre with His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum CREDIT: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Some are asking what, if any, influence the Foreign Secretary is having over the proposed sale of The Telegraph to a country with which he has such close links.

The roots of Lord Cameron’s relationship with the UAE go back to the early years of the coalition government, when austerity measures made it more important than ever to attract foreign investment into the UK.

In 2013, Lord Cameron, then prime minister, formed a team of 10 officials led by Treasury minister Lord Deighton. Their job, named Project Falcon, was to encourage the Gulf state to spend its cash in Britain, often by giving wealthy sheikhs privileged access to land deals and prestigious institutions.

According to reports, the team of officials produced a “beauty parade” of projects to try to tempt Abu Dhabi’s investment fund at a meeting in July of that year with Sir Tony Blair, who was an adviser for the UAE at the time.

But despite the extraordinary levels of access offered, the work of the unit was not made public. Its existence was only revealed two years after its inception following a battle over what the Government had to disclose under Freedom of Information laws.

The apparent desire to play down the unit’s activities is now hard to fathom. A decade on, the Government appears to be entirely open about its wish to court the region. Alongside a healthy stream of cash, it is perhaps also motivated by the UAE’s willingness to tackle global issues such as the need for clean energy.

In January, a government minister said the UK expected to raise tens of billions of pounds from the state, in addition to a five-year, £10 billion partnership which was sealed in 2021. Most of the funds so far have been spent on life sciences, technology, clean energy and infrastructure.

The Gulf state now has large stakes in many of Britain’s critical assets. Its largest sovereign wealth fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, owns nearly a tenth of Thames Water. The Government of Dubai ultimately owns P&O Ferries – which came under the spotlight in 2022 when it abruptly sacked 800 UK employees over a video call – and whose parent company DP World owns two UK ports, London Gateway and Southampton.

Abu Dhabi has also set its sights on the UK’s energy sector, saying two years ago that the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) intended to take a 25 per cent stake in BP’s flagship hydrogen project, H2Teeside, whilst Masdar, an Abu Dhabi firm focused on renewable energy, has signed a memorandum of understanding to invest in another proposed BP hydrogen project, HyGreen Teesside.

Lucy Frazer, the Culture Secretary

Lucy Frazer, the Culture Secretary, will have to decide whether to allow the Telegraph sale to go ahead or to ask the Competition and Markets Authority to carry out a separate review CREDIT: Thomas Krych/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock

Government ministers are reported to have invited an Emirati investor to help fund the Sizewell C nuclear power plant project – filling a financial hole left after Britain removed Chinese investors because of security fears over the involvement of the Asian superpower in critical national infrastructure.

But not everyone is happy about the Gulf state as an alternative owner for some of Britain’s most prized assets.

Some MPs are nervous about any one territory having so much power in Britain, not least a federation of seven absolute monarchies known for their discriminatory treatment of women and intolerant stance on homosexuality. Critics also point to limits on freedom of expression in the UAE.

These issues become all the more concerning when it comes to Abu Dhabi’s takeover of British cultural institutions, such as its attempt to take ownership of The Telegraph via RedBird IMI, a joint venture between RedBird, a US private equity firm, and International Media Investments (IMI), Abu Dhabi’s state-backed media investment vehicle, which owns 75 per cent of the partnership. Critics fear that it would hand the new owners undue influence over the UK’s democratic process.

The Telegraph titles are currently owned by the Barclay family, which borrowed money from Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling royal family and owner of Manchester City Football Club, to pay off a debt to Lloyds Banking Group.

The Barclays propose to settle the debt by transferring ownership of The Telegraph to RedBird IMI, which is fronted by the US businessman Jeff Zucker.

Lord Cameron has privately made it clear that he has no problem with Abu Dhabi owning The Telegraph, putting him at odds with other ministers who do not believe it is appropriate for a major British media company to be, in effect, owned by a foreign state.

One senior Tory source said: “Everyone knows that, unfortunately, due to his close connections, the Foreign Secretary is minded to let the bid proceed. That gives rise to a potential conflict of interest.

“This is a source of strain with other ministers.”

Lord Cameron with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at Zabeel Palace in Dubai in 2013

Lord Cameron with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at Zabeel Palace in Dubai in 2013 CREDIT: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The source added: “David Cameron’s global network of personal interests is showing through yet again – in private he is accusing those of us who want to see The Telegraph remain British of being nationalists.

“In reality, we just don’t want to sell it to a foreign power who will exert state control over the British media.

“He has no long-term interest other than what suits him to trade off when we lose.”

Lord Cameron might, of course, argue he is simply doing what any foreign secretary would do: trying to maintain good working relationships with trading partners in the face of Government decisions that might be unpopular with them.

In November, it emerged that the Foreign Office had intervened to “soften” the language used by the Culture Secretary in a letter to RedBird IMI about the Telegraph deal for fear of offending its backers in Abu Dhabi.

While his ministers look both ways, “Rishi Sunak will just push [the Telegraph decision] into the long grass to avoid judgement day”, the Tory source said.

Lord Cameron is not a lone voice in the matter. George Osborne, his closest political ally from his time as prime minister, is one of four partners of the investment bank Robey Warshaw, which has been hired by RedBird IMI to advise on the bid.

 

Lord Cameron’s sister-in-law, the former editor of the Evening Standard, Emily Sheffield, publicly criticised Mr Osborne for “aiding a state to buy one of our media institutions”.

The peer has expanded his power base since returning to government by taking on influential figures from his Downing Street years. Baroness Sugg, his former head of operations, and Laurence Mann, his former political private secretary, are both employed as special advisers to the Foreign Secretary.

Meanwhile, Adam Atashzai, his former deputy political director, is now one of Mr Sunak’s senior advisers, while Laura Trott, who was one of Lord Cameron’s special advisers, is now in the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Ms Sheffield, meanwhile, has just started a new job at Conservative Campaign Headquarters advising on communications.

Former prime minister Tony Blair was [art of Project Falcon and an adviser for the UAE at the time

Former prime minister Tony Blair was [art of Project Falcon and an adviser for the UAE at the time CREDIT: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

When Lord Cameron was asked in December about the proposed UAE takeover, he told The Telegraph: “I’m not getting into that at all. It’s a quasi-judicial matter for the DCMS Secretary. I will play no role in that at all.”

The reason he was asked the question in the first place is because of the time he spent in the UAE after he left office, where he earned substantial sums of money.

He has given four speeches in the UAE, including one last year, which also involved hosting a private lunch.

Well-placed sources told The Telegraph the peer received at least £117,500 for each speech, as well as first-class travel and accommodation in five-star hotels.

Last year, he also undertook a three-week stint as a lecturer at NYU Abu Dhabi, a branch of New York University, for which he is likely to have earned further substantial fees. It has also emerged he attended two conferences in the Gulf state to raise funds for a south east Asian project.

Although his work on the speakers’ circuit, along with his role at the university, was deemed “relevant” by the parliamentary ethics adviser and therefore published in the List of Ministers’ Interests, no detail as to the amounts paid was provided, provoking questions about transparency.

The Foreign Office has previously refused to disclose which jobs and clients the peer had given up to take the role.

A spokesman for Lord Cameron told The Telegraph: “The Foreign Secretary has declared his previous interests to the Permanent Secretary in the correct way.

“The proposed takeover is a quasi-judicial decision for the Secretary of State for DCMS. The Foreign Secretary does not have a role – formal or informal – in the decision.”

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove is also a beneficiary of UAE hospitality

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove is also a beneficiary of UAE hospitality CREDIT: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

In addition to Lord Cameron, 98 current and former MPs and peers have accepted more than £1.5 million in earnings, donations and hospitality from the UAE in the past decade, including figures who remain at the heart of Government.

The overall figure will be even higher because 33 members were not required to declare the value of one or more of their Emirates-linked financial interests.

Michael Gove and Andrew Mitchell, who both served in Lord Cameron’s cabinet, are among the beneficiaries of UAE hospitality.

Other serving ministers to have benefited from the state’s riches are justice minister Edward Argar, health minister Helen Whately, foreign minister Leo Docherty, defence minister James Heappey and minister for business and trade Nusrat Ghani.

None of the ministers responded to questions from The Telegraph about their links to the UAE.

Whether such links would have been forged without Lord Cameron rolling out the red carpet for the Gulf state cannot be known. But with the deadline for a decision on the ownership of The Telegraph looming, questions about the extent to which the Foreign Secretary is still championing the UAE’s interests will not go away.

The UAE’s network of investments and influence in Britain

The United Arab Emirates has established an extensive portfolio of investments and a network of relationships in Britain, stretching from cultural institutions to royalty and sport.

These links raise questions over the level of influence that the Gulf state already has in the UK, especially given the concerns over its human rights record.

Education

The UAE has extensive links with some of Britain’s most prestigious education institutions.

Gordonstoun, where the King was a pupil, announced in October that it would build an outpost on Abu Dhabi’s Jubail Island. In doing so, it joined a string of British schools and universities that have set up satellite campuses in the oil-rich nation.

Imperial College London has opened three diabetes treatment and research centres in the UAE, backed by one of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth funds, and in 2021 it emerged that the Gulf state was attempting to engineer a partnership with the University of Cambridge.

 

Leaked documents, drawn up by University of Cambridge officials and addressed to its general board, show that the university was in talks about a £400 million partnership with the UAE, which would have included setting up a jointly-branded institute with a bricks-and-mortar presence in the Emirates.

The document, seen by The Telegraph, asked the general board to approve the agreement in principle, but also raised “broad concerns about human rights in the UAE” and noted that there was a “values gap” between Cambridge and the UAE which presented a “risk” to Cambridge’s reputation.

“We are fully aware of the UAE’s recent treatment of UK researchers and other visitors, which reflect a dramatically different cultural and legal context than that which may be familiar to our staff and students,” it said.

In 2018, Matthew Hedges, a PhD student at Durham University, was arrested at Dubai airport on suspicion of working for MI6, and held in solitary confinement for almost six months.

Three years later, British football coach Billy Hood was jailed in Dubai after four bottles of vape liquid containing cannabis oil were found in his car. He was originally sentenced to 25 years, a term that was later reduced to 10 years.

In the Cambridge document, it is also indicated the UK Government was supportive of the partnership. It stated: “The UK Government is aware that we are developing a proposal of our own [to partner with the UAE] and we understand they will support it.”

In the end, the Cambridge deal fell apart following pressure from human rights campaigners – and after an unrelated scandal erupted over claims that the UAE had used controversial Pegasus hacking software to covertly harvest data from the phones of people outside its borders, including a member of the House of Lords.

Nonetheless, the claims in the leaked document are likely to stoke fears that the Government is too willing to overlook human rights concerns in order to promote financial partnerships with the Gulf state.

Premier League winning team Manchester City is perhaps one of the Gulf state’s best-known assets in the UK

Premier League winning team Manchester City is perhaps one of the Gulf state’s best-known assets in the UK CREDIT: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester City

The football club is one of the Gulf state’s best-known assets in the UK.

It was bought in 2008 by the Abu Dhabi United Group, headed up by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Mansour is the brother of the ruler of Abu Dhabi. Since the purchase, Manchester City have consistently outplayed every other club in the Premiership, winning the league title seven times. They have taken the title five times in the last six years, and are the bookmakers’ favourite to do so again this year.

Dwarfing the reported £200 million the Abu Dhabi United Group paid for the club are the vast sums spent each year on buying the best players and coaching staff.

In 2019, Uefa started looking into alleged violations of financial regulations by the club, including questions over whether sponsorship fees were properly declared.

The club always denied any wrongdoing but was initially banned for two seasons and issued with a £26.8 million fine.

After appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the ban was overturned and the fine was reduced to £8.9 million.

Owning Manchester City has also handed the UAE a very useful calling card when it came to currying favour with politicians. In 2019, it gave Michael Gove £1,440 of tickets and hospitality from Manchester City – believed to be for a match against Chelsea. Mr Gove is a fan of Queens Park Rangers.

Now Housing Secretary, Mr Gove has long been a key figure in the Cabinet and was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster at the time.

Cultural institutions

The UAE has ties with some of the most prestigious institutions in Britain’s cultural landscape.

In 2009, the British Museum struck a deal to loan objects to Abu Dhabi’s yet-to-be-completed Zayed Museum and to help it curate exhibitions in return for fees paid by the UAE.

In 2018, the British Museum renewed the deal, at the same time as it renamed one of its galleries the “Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Gallery for Europe and the Middle East”.

Sheikh Zayed was the founder and former president of the UAE who died in 2004.

Britain’s eminent orchestras also perform in Abu Dhabi.

The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra has played at Abu Dhabi’s national day and in 2022, the London Symphony Orchestra premiered a symphony which celebrated the culture and values of the UAE.

The Gulf state has also managed to woo a highly-paid BBC presenter: Stephen Sackur, who fronts HardTalk on BBC World News and is one of the corporation’s best-known faces outside Britain.

He regularly fronts hotel conferences in the UAE and was paid up to £10,000 as a host at the Future Hospitality Summit in Abu Dhabi last September, where he interviewed Abdulla bin Touq, the UAE’s Minister of Economy.

While the BBC said that it publishes “the externally paid for work of its on-air journalists for transparency” and that “every event is approved in line with our editorial guidelines”, there are nevertheless questions about whether the appearance may have compromised the broadcaster’s impartiality.

The Duke of York

The Duke of York has a close relationship with the UAE, and concerns were raised over a potential conflict of interest after reports emerged about the hospitality he accepted from the state while he was the UK’s trade envoy – a position he held for a decade until 2011.

In 2010, it emerged that the UAE royal family had given the Duke the use of a “gilded mini-palace” in their compound for use when he visited – whether on private or official business.

The Duke also visited the now-former Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi’s house in Morocco, where the pair went hunting, while he was trade envoy.

The Duke, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, often referred to as MBZ, are longstanding friends having met as boys at Gordonstoun boarding school in Scotland when the Sheikh spent a summer there.

A friend close to the Prince denied that there was a conflict and said it “sounds like part of his old job promoting UK interests around the world, which he did very effectively”.

Prince Andrew was – and remains - a regular visitor to Abu Dhabi, clocking up 18 visits since 2001, according to palace records.

Land deals

In Manchester, an Abu Dhabi firm has been allowed to buy a 999-year leasehold for brownfield sites that were previously publicly owned, to build thousands of residential properties in the east of the city.

Most of these homes are rented out via a joint venture between the council and the Abu Dhabi firm, but the council reportedly only receives a small fraction of the rental income.

Manchester City Council has robustly defended the 2014 transaction, saying it used “nationally accepted” valuation methods, that it “got the best overall deal we could… at a time when there was very little market interest”, and that it has received £3 million from the joint venture “with more to come”.

However, researchers at the University of Sheffield’s Urban Institute – which examines how cities are responding to intensified urbanisation – have said that the deal undervalued the properties and that the council “sold the family silver too cheap”.

Additional reporting by Ruth Hallows

 

How can the oppression of ethnic minorities in post-dictatorship transitions be best addressed through constitution building and state structure? Where constitution building takes place in the aftermath of conflict or after the fall of dictatorship the relationship between different ethnic minorities and dominant ethnic groups within the state are often difficult and headache for the dominant ethnic like that of our tiny Eritrea.

The post liberation Eritrea under the unitary system and one-man rule was dominated by one ethnic group and this system was the main cause of today’s crisis in Eritrea. There are many different dimensions to this problem, and these can vary from one context to another. Often, demands by ethnic minorities for power dispersal mechanisms that ensure their participation in political, economic and social decision-making on an equal basis rejected  while the interests of a dominant majority that wishes to safeguard supremacy/chauvinism and control over the minority are preserved and respected.

In Eritrea after the independence, the minorities who owned the resources rich areas like the east and west lowlands were expropriated by the dominant group yes-men of the dictatorship. At another level, what might at first appear to be a minority claim can become more complex when historical, demographic and cultural dimensions are taken in totality.

On the one hand is a majority group that conceptualizes the minority rights question in proprietary terms. This group sees itself as ‘the chosen ones’ with ownership rights over everything in the political community to the exclusion of all those who fall outside that group like that of the Agazian dreams- building Tigrai-Tigrni state.

At this time, the so called Agazian- Tigrai-Tigrni  view that they are the only owners of the land called today Eritrea, the others are migrants will disintegrate Eritrea, therefore the forces democratic change must face this strongly based on the historical facts on the ground. The Eritreans for democratic change must be accommodative of all the Eritrean ethnic identities with certain claims. The demands of the Eritrean nationalities are that the nature and character of the state must preserve and guarantee their cultural and territorial land.  The land must belong to its owners not the state. The state formation must be constitutionally decentralized or be cooperative federalism. Unitary state formation leads to centralism and dominance. The late studies of global institutions on democracy show that even the unitary state structures are to-day decentralized, for example Sweden which is monarchy is decentralized in power sharing, more on this I will write in the coming article on constitutional decentralization.

The Eritrean constitution of 1997 was not accommodative and has limitations in its provisions on fundamental rights it lacks in its framework on devolution of power- sharing and decision making.

Constitution building in post-conflict transitions is very much about state building. Sometimes this involves lumping together different nations to produce a new nation state, while at the same time ensuring that the different nations or ethnicities within the state, regardless of their size, stay within the resulting constitutional framework, which provides equal protection to all. Achieving such parity is a challenge, especially in the in reconstructing the state after the fall of the dictatorship where ethnic identity is strong in comparison to national identity.

  Reconstructing the formation of state in Eritrea

Tackling the challenges of integrating the diversity into a larger national whole, in the context of constitutional processes, requires an analysis of multicultural Eritrea and its key demands—The Eritrean forces for democratic change must prepare themselves how to face these challenges. Democracy is not imposed but constructed. No country is fit for democracy but through the process of democratization as professor Amartya Sen and professor Gene Sharp noted in their studies. The Eritrean forces for democratic change will face challenges on the specific historical, geographic and demographic circumstances of Eritrea. For example, those who claim that Eritrea belongs only the tigrai- tigrni or agazian who wants to dismantle the internationally recognized Eritrean Sovereignty and territorial integrity must be faced urgently.  We know all that the Eritrean people have all cross border cultural relations, having such relations are available in all countries of the world. Such relations must be respected and be promoted under two sovereign nations by all the bordering nations. ( Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti and with other overseas countries like SA and Jemen.)

The difficult struggle is the transition from dictatorship to democracy, therefore our experts must give priority to prepare studies and identifying conflict issues by conducting national dialogues with the wide range of stakeholders. ( political organizations, Civil society organizations, Unions and professionals). The latest formed Eritrean Political Forces / EPF is a good example of unifying the forces for democratic change.

References

  1. Dialogue For Democratic Development/ IDEA
  2. Democracy , Not Military Coups/UNDP

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Eritrea Liberty Magazine Issue Nr.82

Thursday, 04 January 2024 19:55 Written by

Martin Plaut

Sudan Is on the Brink of a New Catastrophe

Martin Plaut

Dec 23

Source: Fair Observer

Sudan Is on the Brink of a New Catastrophe

Rebels have taken over Sudan’s second-largest city. The latest fighting is exacerbating a terrible humanitarian crisis and 6.7 million have fled their homes. Foreign actors are backing their respective horses in this civil war, which has major implications for the entire region.

BY MARTIN PLAUT

Pic 1 2

‏The picture shows a huge fire in one of the ancient markets in Sudan (Amdurman market) likely due to the war between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces.

DECEMBER 23, 2023 01:42 EDT

On Tuesday, December 19, Sudan’s second largest city, Wad Madani, fell to one of the most brutal armed groups worldwide. This made few headlines in a world obsessed with the fighting in Gaza.

The Sudanese war — which erupted in April this year — has pitted the Sudanese Armed Forces against the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). On the surface, it was no more than a quarrel between two generals. However, behind the military men are a range of outside forces. While the army has been the traditional bastion of the state, the RSF grew out of the notorious Janjaweed, a notorious Sudanese Arab militia charged with genocide for its activities in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.

As Kate Ferguson of Protection Approaches wrote:

“The RSF is the Janjaweed rebranded, the “devils on horseback” used by the Sudanese government from 2003 to implement widespread and systematic crimes against non-Arab communities across Darfur. The RSF was, and still is, commanded by Gen Mohamed Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo.”

The war is a tragedy for the Sudanese people. It has forced an estimated 6.7 million people to flee from their homes. According to aid agencies, this is “the largest displacement crisis globally.” Although apparently no more than a regional issue, Sudan’s conflict has the potential to reshape the politics of the region, with implications for the entire Middle East.

That reshaping might come later. At the moment, the humanitarian crisis is dire and can be grasped from two maps. The first map, by the International Organisation for Migration, shows where the population has fled.

International Organization for Migration (IOM), Dec 12 2023. DTM DTM Sudan Weekly Displacement Snapshot 13. IOM, Sudan.

The second map, by the Famine Early Warning System, shows just how close many Sudanese are to famine, having been forced off their lands. Over half the population — 25 million people (including 13 million children) — urgently need humanitarian assistance.

The fall of Wad Madani after three days of fighting left the RSF with a precious resource. Not only did it capture a city that was home to the army’s first infantry division, the RSF now holds the urban area to which most aid agencies decamped after the fighting erupted in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. Now, the rebel RSF holds most of Khartoum and large parts of Darfur, while the Sudanese army, under General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has had to decamp to the relative safety of Port Sudan.

Chatham House analysts neatly summed up the situation: “An effective partition has emerged in Sudan, with the army controlling the east and northeast and the RSF controlling much of the capital and west of the country.”

International forces fueling the conflict

The African Union (AU) and its regional body — the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) — have made little headway in attempting to end the fighting. South Sudan, Djibouti and Ethiopia are attempting to appoint a special envoy, but even if they manage to select an appropriate mediator, it is hard to see how this envoy will make progress. The much vaunted African Standby Force, on which the AU and the international community have spent vast sums of money, is yet to be deployed. Instead, the only viable peace talks have taken place in Jeddah, which indicates that the Arab world, not the AU, is playing a more significant role in Sudan.

The fighting between the Sudanese army and the RSF is backed by external supporters. Burhan and the army look north for support. Historically, most Sudanese have looked to Egypt for support. Burhan was trained in Egypt and is a regular guest of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has just won a third term in office. The Sudanese general can also rely on the Saudis for some backing. Also, the US gives Burhan and the army lukewarm support.

The reason US support is lukewarm is simple. President Joe Biden is bogged down by the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza. With his reelection bid kicking off, Biden has little time to concentrate on Sudan. This apparent indifference is a mistake. Alex de Waal argues that benign neglect does not serve Washington’s interests. The Sudanese crisis will only end when the US engages more robustly.

Note that Burhan and the army have a poor support base. The RSF is much better resourced. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, generally referred to mononymously as Hemedti, leads the RSF. He is a former Janjaweed leader who was the deputy head of the Transitional Military Council following the 2019 Sudanese coup d’état. Hemedti has backers and the RSF has more money, men and motivation than the army.

Hemedti has links across the border in Chad, which he has exploited to the full. In fact, the RSF, is a revamped version of the Janjaweed and has terrorized Sudan. Its Arab fighters have attacked and killed African populations in Darfur.

Hemedti has also taken control of the resources of the region in general, and its gold mines in particular. He was encouraged and supported by Russia’s Wagner Group, which has taken a share of the spoils in return for supplying weapons to the RSF. This supply was tracked and traced by CNN. There is now clear evidence that the Wagner Group has been providing the RSF with missiles. Sudanese gold, flown out of Libya and on to the Russian base at Latakia paid for the weapons. This gold has not only funded Wagner, but also President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Apart from Russia’s Wagner Group, the UAE is the RSF’s other major backer. The Sudanese army says it has “information from intelligence, military intelligence, and the diplomatic circuit that the UAE sends planes to support the Janjaweed.” The UAE has established hospitals in Chad to provide treatment for refugees fleeing from the fighting. Although the UAE denies it, there is a widespread belief that the aid is little more than a front for weapons supplies for the RSF.

Uganda is seen as an alternative route for the UAE’s support for Hemedti’s operations. Reportedly, when a plane landed at Uganda’s main airport Entebbe in June this year, its flight documents said it was carrying humanitarian aid sent by the UAE for Sudanese refugees. Instead, “Ugandan officials said they found dozens of green plastic crates in the plane’s cargo hold filled with ammunition, assault rifles and other small arms.”

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Little surprise then that the Sudanese army declared 15 members of the UAE embassy persona non grata on December 11. But outgunned and with limited diplomatic support, Burhan’s position appears to be weakening. At this moment there seems little chance of his allies providing the Sudanese army with the backing they require to hold off the Hemedti-led RSF. If Hemedti was to succeed in his campaign to oust the Sudanese military (and he is still some way from that objective) it would be a huge boost for his backers. The UAE would have extended its influence deep into Africa. The Wagner Group would have enhanced its operations across a vast swathe the Sahel. Hemedti’s victory would strengthen Putin’s influence and finances. It would also be a major blow to the US and the West. Already the Wagner Group has effectively chased the French out of Mali. Needless to say, a great deal is riding on the outcome of the Sudanese civil war. The future not only of a country but also of an entire region is at stake.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

Following Emperor Haile Selassie’s illegal dissolution of the UN-voted Eritrea-Ethiopia federation in 1962, Ethiopia’s occupation army pursued a scorched-earth strategy in Eritrea aimed at creating a country without a people.  As a consequence majority of civilian Eritreans in their villages, cities and even Eritreans inside Ethiopia became victims of indiscriminate imprisonment, torture and executions.

  
The worst phases of their policy of ‘drying the sea to kill the fish’ were witnessed in 1967 when large-scale killing and burning operations were launched everywhere in the land with the futile object of separating the revolution from the Eritrean people and starving it of lack of support base. To this effect, the occupation authorities issued a decree ordering the people to abandon their villages and concentrate in a few locations under government control. Following the passing of this law the regime started to burn villages and commit massacres against civilians residing in the Eastern and Western lowlands. Some of the worst hit villages that were wiped out together with most of their inhabitants included Ad’Abrihim, Ad’Kukui, Tekhombia, Mesyam, Hazomo. Soyra, Aylet, Akhwar, Gemhot, Hirgigo, Jengeren, Halhal, Medeka, Funa …etc. As a result of those countless atrocities, more than 30,000 Eritreans sought refuge in the Sudan in the early months of 1967. Most of those refugees have not to this day returned to their homeland.

Eritrean Liberation Army (ELA) units that were taking different measures they could   to stop the criminal operations of the Ethiopian occupation army in late 1970 ambushed and killed the head of the Ethiopian army in Eritrea, General  Teshome Ergetu. The general with his convoy was on his way from Asmara to Keren to visit the centre of operations for their burning and killing mission.


In retaliation for the general’s execution and the huge loss that was inflicted on the Ethiopian forces, the occupation authorities embarked on more barbaric atrocities targeting villages around Keren. On 30 November and 1st December 1970, it was the turn of Besikdira and then Ona to bear the brunt of the worst attacks for that week.

The residents of Besikdira, estimated at over 200 souls, were asked to separate themselves on religious lines – Christians on one side and Muslims on the other. But the villagers refused to do so saying that they were inseparable brothers and sisters. Following this united stand by the people, the enemy gave instructions to the Muslims to enter the Mosque leaving the Christians outside it. The people again decided to have a united response choosing to live or die together. Then all were forced to enter a crowded Mosque, and all were machine-gunned inside it. Only a few survived the slaughter by some miracle.

The next day, 1st of December 1970, the occupation army surrounded nearby Ona which was by then a huge concentration camp sheltering residents from many other villages. It was another barbarous day in which hundreds of innocent men, women and children were mercilessly murdered point blank. Not less than 900 souls perished in this single one-day massacre of Ona, a couple of kilometres near Keren.

On this 53rd anniversary of the massacres of Ona and Besikdira, we pay tribute to all of our heroic people who faced death as one people for their national cause. Today, Eritreans have the same obligation to stand as one people. May the souls of all Eritrean Martyrs Rest in Peace.

EPF Higher Transitional Body

08 December, 2023

 


Source: BZ

In the municipality of Grellingen in the canton of Baselland, representatives of the Eritrean dictator gathered on Saturday to call for violence against refugees. The police were on site with emergency services. The area was cordoned off over a large area.

UpdatedDecember 9, 2023, 8:03 p.m

Eritrean Ambassador 1

 

 A major police operation ran for hours in Grellingen on Saturday. An Eritrean event with around 400 participants took place near the Chez Georges restaurant. It was a private event for the Eritrean association in Switzerland, as the Basel-Landschaft cantonal police said upon request.

Several groups of people, consisting of opposition activists, made their way to Grellingen to end the festival. A spokesman said on the phone: "The Swiss authorities are failing again today and, in their blindness, are ultimately protecting the dictator regime in Africa!" In several WhatsApp groups and on Telegram there were calls to go there and demonstrate.

A reader video shows the heated atmosphere on site.

Video: reader reporter

The police cordoned off the area extensively after 300 regime opponents stormed the cantonal road between Grellingen and Duggingen. The result was kilometre-long traffic jams. Even residents couldn't get through, as a bz editor reported. At the train station there were several vans with police officers in full gear.

Eritrean Ambassador 2

The situation is under control and calm, as media spokesman Adrian Gaugler said. The police were able to prevent the various groups from clashing. She checked around 120 people and occasionally turned people away.

The police advised drivers to avoid the area as much as possible. There were also delays in train traffic between Basel and Laufen. According to loudspeaker announcements about people near the tracks.

In addition to the ambassador, two high-ranking politicians from Eritrea are also said to have arrived

A speech by the Eritrean ambassador was broadcast live on TikTok, as well as several other videos showing people dancing happily and exuberantly under the flag of the dictator's regime. In addition to the ambassador, two high-ranking politicians from Eritrea who are close to the dictator are also said to have arrived.

For the Eritrean diaspora in Switzerland, it is a picture of sheer mockery. A representative of the Eritrean media association is beside himself: “How can people who have fled from a regime celebrate their country and the dictator in Switzerland? These are not real refugees!” He was on his way to the event himself to stop his compatriots from using violence against the event.

The police had carried out a situation assessment in advance. Due to past incidents at Eritrean festivals, she decided to have emergency services on site to prevent an escalation ber. At that time, hundreds of Eritrean refugees wanted to prevent and protest against the event organized by supporters of the dictatorship. There was a clash with demonstrators and the police. Twelve people were injured. There were three arrests.

Before the event in Grellingen, the organizers were sent an order with various conditions. According to the police, the organizers implemented or complied with these requirements.

 

Martin Plaut posted: " Eritreans will mourn the death of Glenys Kinnock - someone who stood by the Eritrean people in the hardest of times. She was the most senior Labour Party politician who visited Eritrea in March 1988 during its liberation struggle, a trip she recalled in " Martin Plaut

Martin Plaut

Dec 3

Eritreans will mourn the death of Glenys Kinnock - someone who stood by the Eritrean people in the hardest of times. She was the most senior Labour Party politician who visited Eritrea in March 1988 during its liberation struggle, a trip she recalled in this article in the Guardian dated 28 October 2015. As can be seen, she never compromised on her support for Eritreans, but had no time at all for the dictatorship of President Isaias.

Here she is with the Eritrea All Party Parliamentary Group in 2014

Gleny Kinock 1

 

 

 Martin

There must be no compromise with Eritrea's tyrannical Afewerki regime
Glenys Kinnock

Proposals for financial aid to Eritrea to help stem the refugee tide must be rejected and robust action against the regime continued

Wed 28 Oct 2015 10.02 GMT

Human rights violations, relentless cruelty, tyranny and oppression are, tragically, everyday experiences for Eritreans.

It is horrifying. It is also so far away from what so many Eritreans heroically fought for, and what campaigners outside that country were supporting, in the struggle for liberation.

Twenty-seven years ago, in March 1988, I travelled to Eritrea with a War on Want team to look at water projects and to assess other ways of developing partnership and support with Eritreans. I have been there twice since in delegations from the European parliament.

In 1988, in the midst of conflict, incessant Ethiopian air attacks meant we could only travel at night, and the devastating effects of the then 27-year war between Eritrea and Ethiopia were painfully plain.

At the hospital in Orotta, on the night after the battle of Afebet, we saw men and women fighters of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) army with the most terrible battlefield injuries, and we also witnessed the bravery, skill and inventiveness of the people of Eritrea.

This, and other experiences at that time, made me even more determined to continue to show practical solidarity with the Eritreans who were demonstrating the indomitable spirit, which had, for years, enabled them to fight poverty, famine, and armed Ethiopian aggression.

When I returned to Britain, I wrote a book in which I expressed great admiration for the people, for organisations like the National Union of Eritrean women… and for the EPLF leader, Isaias Afewerki.

When Eritrea finally achieved independence in 1993, we rejoiced at what we, and countless Eritreans, thought was the beginning of a future of freedom.

We were so wrong.

Twenty-two years later, Eritrea is now being described as Africa’s North Korea – and the cruelty that is inflicted on Eritrean people by the Afewerki regime justifies that description. The national assembly hasn’t met since 2002; the 1997 constitution has never been implemented; there is no independent judiciary; extra-judicial executions, torture, arbitrary detentions of journalists, teachers, and members of religious groups are common; Eritreans are not allowed to move, speak, assemble or organise freely; indefinite compulsory military conscription and forced labour prevails.

The recent UN commission report calls such conditions “slavery” and said that “some of the gross and widespread human rights abuses which are being committed in Eritrea, under the authority of the government, often constitute crimes against humanity”.

A member of that UN commission of inquiry said: “We seldom see human rights violations of the scope and scale as we see in Eritrea today.”

The list of atrocities goes on. Women face discrimination and sexual and gender-based violence and are denied access to justice. Few, if any, detainees are brought to trial. “Disappearances” are commonplace.

According to Human Rights Watch, prisoners are held in crowded underground cells or in shipping containers with no space to lie down.

The regime in Eritrea is, in short, a secretive, reclusive, authoritarian tyranny, which is ruthlessly controlled by president Afewerki.

His rule of terror is a complete betrayal of the cause of liberation and self-determination for which so many Eritreans fought and died.

Nothing can obscure the fact that Eritreans ​are being terrorised and trapped into what amounts to enslavement

That is why such large numbers of Eritreans are prepared to risk everything – including the “shoot to kill” system operated in border areas – to escape their country to seek a better life for themselves and their families.

The scale of that exodus is huge: in 2014, almost as many men, women and children fled from Eritrea (a country of 6 million people, which is not at war), as fled in that year from Syria (a country of 18 million people, torn apart by four years of war).

Clearly, a very large proportion of the people who cross land and sea in the desperate effort to reach Europe are Eritreans.

And they are unquestionably refugees under every definition of that pitiful status.

What is needed is decisive action, and a clear and unequivocal policy on maintaining and fully enforcing UN sanctions against the Eritrean regime.

The UN commission urges us to offer protection to Eritrean asylum seekers.

Knowing that, in Britain and the EU we must surely uphold the principle of providing refuge to people who have a genuine and justified fear of persecution, and are fleeing from what manifestly constitutes crimes against humanity.

There can be no good reason to say that giving refuge will simply encourage more to take awful risks. Living in Eritrea is an awful risk, thinking about leaving is an awful risk, doing it is an awful risk.

It isn’t the prospect of refuge that makes people flee, it is the dread of staying that makes them abandon their homeland.

Eritrea is isolated politically, regionally and internationally and UN sanctions are firmly in place.

We are hearing now, however, some suggestions that substantial financial aid should be given to Eritrea as part of efforts being made to stem the exodus of refugees.

Such a course, if it was ever taken, would be disasterous, not least because – on the basis of all the evidence about the regime – any EU aid offered to Eritrea would be seen as an endorsement of the government and used to entrench a repressive regime, not to help those in need. It would almost certainly breach the EU’s commitment that states “human rights is at the forefront of EU development co-operation”.

Nothing can obscure the fact that Eritreans are being terrorised and trapped into what amounts to enslavement by a regime that imposes tyranny, cruelty and oppression.

Nothing should diminish the reality that Eritrean victims of that persecution deserve our solidarity, and need to be supported by all of us who believe that conciliation and concession to regimes such as exists in Eritrea will surely fail.

No such softening should ever be contemplated. Our own freedom compels us to fulfil our duty to those who are not free, and never will be until the vileness that imprisons Eritrea is ended.

The Eritrean Political Forces (EPF), first initiated in February 2020 by a call from  the late Berhane Woldegebriel, former director of Eritrean Education and Publication Society, aims to enhance the voice and action of the Eritrean opposition camp under the slogan of “Let us unify the political forces to save the Nation.”   

In view of our past experiences and the multiplicity of viewpoints and organizations, the work to unify our ranks was not taken to be an easy mission. However, progress was made through an accord reached in July 2020 to launch a phase of cooperation at the level of joint work in selected fields, and by April 2022, the partners agreed in principle to upgrade their relationship by eventually forming a wider political umbrella.

And it is true that the coordination phase did not only succeed to facilitate the EPF partners know one another better but also helped them to start conducting joint tasks, know each other’s thoughts and viewpoints and in the process build mutual trust and tolerance. On top of this, the joint platform helped enhance common understanding on the urgency of removing the dictatorial regime that brought untold suffering to the entire nation, and avert the looming threats to Eritrea’s national sovereignty. Yet, no one can deny that there existed differences that made joint works less effective. Those differences also delayed by at times stalling the process of establishing a wider umbrella. Nonetheless, breakdown of the lofty initiative was not acceptable to all EPF partners who were determined to continue the networking by acting only  in areas in which full agreement was reached. It indeed was a stage full of challenges requiring persistence in continued dialoguing and giving more chance to keep the ideal going.   

It is to be recalled that the EPF accord on the formation of a joint provisional leadership that could lead to the creation of a wide political umbrella within one year was made public on the occasion of celebration of the beginning of our armed struggle that took place on 2 September 2023 . However, on 10 November 2023, all four EPF partners held a meeting at which the ENCDC side informed that their alliance had encountered some misunderstanding that could not let the body to continue in the unity process at this stage, and wished success for the remaining three EPF partners. On their part, the remaining three forces hoped that the ENCDC would eventually clear their house and rejoin the ongoing process to form an inclusive national political umbrella for the opposition.

Soon after, the other three EPF partners, namely: the Eritrean United National Front (EUNF); the Eritrean People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), and the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO), met under the leadership of Gherezghiher Tewelde and his deputy in EPF, Yassin Abdalla, and formed four joint work departments. The EPF is, therefore, happy to announce that the 9-person body representing the three coalescing partners shall commence work under the name of Higher Transitional Body of the EPF.

The Higher Transitional Body shall be guided by the fundamental principles agreed upon by EPF on 1st of January 2023 as listed below:

  • Remove the PDFJ dictatorship and in its place establish a constitutional democratic system of governance;
  • Safeguard the unity of the Eritrean people;
  • Defend Eritrean independence and sovereignty, and
  • Secure and guarantee the basic rights and liberties of the people.

By taking into consideration the untold damage already done to the nation by the dictatorial PFDJ regime in the past three decades in addition to the ongoing threats to the very existence of independent Eritrea, we in the EPF are of the strong belief that it is now the 11th hour for all the Eritrean political forces and other forces for change to suspend their differences and close their ranks than ever before without delay. Indeed, we all have no choice other than rallying under a slogan of  action to save the people and their hard-won independent state.  

As EPF, we consider ourselves to be only at an early stage in unifying our ranks. Thus, this restart is backed by a determination to work effectively with all change seekers to remove the repressive regime based on the full understanding and conviction that the task of change in Eritrea cannot be done by specified forces, say by the EPF working alone. In short, the EPF is not for rivalry or competition with other forces but to complement the ongoing coalescing of our forces for change. Therefore, at this high momentum of resolve for joint work by all forces of change including civic formations, youth movements and women’s groups, we in the EPF solemnly call upon all of them concretize united action than at any time in our past history.

Victory to the Eritrean People’s Democratic Struggle!

Downfall to the Dictatorial PFDJ Regime!

Eternal Honour and Memory and to Eritrean Martyrs!  

17 November, 2023