News / Africa

Eritrea Tells Why it Left – and Rejoined – Regional Bloc

Yemane Gebreab, political advisor to Eritrea President Isaias Afewerki Yemane Gebreab, political advisor to Eritrea President Isaias Afewerki
x
Yemane Gebreab, political advisor to Eritrea President Isaias Afewerki
Yemane Gebreab, political advisor to Eritrea President Isaias Afewerki
Peter Clottey

This is Part One of a five-part series on Eritrea Today
Continue to Parts:     1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5



A political advisor to Eritrea President Isaias Afewerki says the country has reactivated its membership in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African sub-regional bloc.

Yemane Gebreab, who is also head of political affairs at the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), said Eritrea suspended its membership from the group in protest after the sovereignty of a member state of was “violated.”

He said Asmara was disappointed after IGAD failed to uphold a U.N. Security Council resolution, which called for the respect of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Somalia.

He explained that Eritrea suspended its membership after Ethiopia “invaded” Somalia.  Ethiopia sent troops into Somalia in 2006 in support of the country’s Transitional Federal Government.  It was fighting Islamists, including the Islamic Courts Union, a group of Sharia Courts that controlled much of southern Somalia at the time.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said his country’s borders were threatened by rebel forces within Somalia, and that the TFG had invited Ethiopian troops to enter. 

“We felt that the rights of one member state, Somalia, was ignored by our sub-regional organization,” said Gebreab, “when the Ethiopian invasion came in 2006… IGAD gave its blessing to the violation of Somalia’s integrity and sovereignty, and Eritrea felt that that was not acceptable,” said Gebreab.

“The situation has not changed since [we suspended our membership] then but we felt that we had made our point, and resuming our activities in IGAD will help a more constructive approach by IGAD in the regional organizations.”

Gebreab called on IGAD to shift its focus from conflict management and resolution to fostering strong bilateral relations among member states for development, which he said will significantly improve the lives of citizens in the Horn of Africa.

“While that is important, we feel the focus needs to be on regional integration. We are key proponents of the idea that we need to improve infrastructure in Africa,” said Gebreab.

“Everyone knows that it is easier to go a neighboring African country via Europe, and everyone knows that that needs to end. We feel in our sub-region we need to develop railway links [and] road links between our countries….This needs to be the focus of IGAD.”

Despite its enormous potential and natural resources, the Horn of African has often been plagued with drought and sometimes famine.

Last year, the Horn experienced its worst drought in six decades. The United Nations said more than 12 million people in the region needed urgent food aid.
 
Gebreab described the situation as unfortunate.

“The Horn of Africa is a very rich part of the continent, [and] we should not be suffering drought, our people should not be dying from lack of food or famine in the 21st century with all the resources we have,” he said.

Gebreab expressed hope about the prospects of the region despite what he said were  decades of opportunity lost to conflict.

“We are going to come out of this period of our history, and I think that you will see the Horn of Africa emerge as a very active dynamic part of the continent… It will provide a boost to the continent as a whole,” Gebreab said.

Gebreab said Asmara will continue to work with members of IGAD to strengthen relations and bolster security in the region.
Eritrea presidential advisor tells Peter Clottey about the country's history with regional bloc IGAD
Eritrea presidential advisor tells Peter Clottey about the country's history with regional bloc IGADi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid