What are the motives and dimensions of the Sudanese-Eritrean rapprochement?

In recent days, relations between Khartoum and Asmara have been remarkably active, after the latter was the closest to Addis Ababa, whose relations with Sudan are in a state of apathy due to disputes over the dam of the Renaissance, as well as the border dispute. on “Fashqa” lands.

Eritrea, in its efforts to strengthen its relations with Sudan, is trying to help resolve the political crisis the latter has been facing since the coup d’etat by Sudanese army commander Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan on October 25, as Asmara had been before. proposed, during the reception in Khartoum in April (April). An Eritrean delegation, which included Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and an adviser to the Eritrean president, took an initiative to resolve the crisis and bring together all the parties to the conflict. the evolution of the situation in Sudan, and the need to unite efforts and work hard to achieve a unified vision that guarantees a safe exit from the crisis.

But what are the real motives of the evolution of relations between Khartoum and Asmara, and the secret of this sudden rapprochement, its consequences, its future, and its impact on the relations of the two countries with neighboring Ethiopia?

dynamic transformations

Professor of political science at the International University of Africa in Khartoum, specializing in Horn of Africa affairs, Abdel-Wahab Al-Tayeb Al-Bashir, explains that “the reasons for the Sudanese-Eritrean rapprochement are linked to a series of transformations It is clear that relations between the leaders of the two countries represented by Eritrean President Afwerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed are not good, especially after the signing of the Ethiopian-Eritrean agreement in Jeddah in 2018 under Several transformations have taken place which have led to bad relations between the two countries, including the failure to activate the Jeddah agreement, which Afwerki says does not serve his interests because it gives Tigray more great opportunities. opening of the borders, this agreement gives the people (of Tigray) a great respite and serves their interests in all respects.

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Al-Bashir added: “From this point of view, the Eritrean President considered that the Jeddah peace agreement with Ethiopia, which turned the page on the longest conflict on the African continent, represented a great loss for him. , and that he served Addis Ababa. , as well as (Tigray) more than Eritrea.” He continued, “The second thing is that international pressure on the Ethiopian government pushed its Prime Minister to settle the issues with (Tigray) as a result of the war , so what happened in the Ethiopian national dialogue is based on the need for reconciliation with (Tigray), which Afwerki does not want, and therefore the anger of this stage, has worsened relations between the two countries, which resulted in a number of security and military measures and political consequences. Arguably, Ethiopian-Eritrean relations are currently going through their worst state, and reports indicate that there are border battles between the two countries, as well as the withdrawal of Eritrean forces from areas that served the Ethiopian side. borders, so many changes in the security and military situation that affect the nature of political relations.

thorny issues

The professor of political science pointed out that “all these reasons combined, in particular the bad Ethiopian-Eritrean relations, led to the advance of Eritrea towards Sudan along two axes: the first is the negotiation of relations between the two countries , and the second discussions are taking place regarding the Sudanese-Ethiopian relations, and there are also discussions related to the (Tigray) issue. But it is not only a visit of the Eritrean Minister of Foreign Affairs and presidential adviser Afwerki in Khartoum who can do the job, and the best description of what’s going on is that these are deals between Eritrea and Sudan.

Al-Bashir said that “there may seem to be a set of problems related to eastern Sudan, as well as problems related to the interior of Eritrea related to economic issues, and other problems of related to the nature of the problems existing in the disputed border area (Fashqa) between Sudan and Ethiopia, as well as the problem of (Tigray). These issues really need to be understood in the light of the transformations that have taken place in Eritrean-Ethiopian relations, but an important question looms on the horizon: Is Sudan ready for a rapprochement with Eritrea? It was reported in the next few days through real movements, or the presence of real indicators on the ground, represented in the mutual visits between the two countries, or the modification of certain conditions on the Sudanese- Eritrean borders, or this which may come from the positive developments of Eritrea in the region (Al-Fashqa), as well as any effort from Asmara towards the problems of the inflamed eastern Sudan.

staging

The Sudanese writer, Ammar Al-Arki, had indicated in an article that “Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki stems from the fear of danger and the threat posed to him by the Tigray Front, his sworn and historical enemy, given its high combat capabilities. In case of settlement A reconciliation between (Tigray) and the Ethiopian government led by Abi Ahmed could lead to an alliance between them, and therefore it will be the beginning of the end for Afwerki and his regime.

He continued: “Additionally, Afwerki is under pressure (Tigray) to hand over his prisoners of war to the United Nations, whom the former expelled from his country alongside the imposition of US sanctions, but (Tigai) in has a number of others. more than two thousand prisoners of war, most of whom are young Eritreans forced to fight. As part of compulsory service, they are prepared to present their testimonies and prove international charges and confessions of having committed war crimes and violations under the direct orders and orders of the President of Eritrea, if (the Tigray ) was actually handing them over to the United Nations.

Al-Arki said that “in light of this scene, Afwerki began to prepare, to strengthen his defenses, to prepare the ground and to obtain regional and international support, in particular Sudan, which he designated through successive visits and messages, as well as Russia, which he flirted with by voting for him in the Security Council and not opposing the establishment of a Russian military base in Eritrea, to face the expected scenarios if the disputes with Abi Ahmed and the (Tigray) Front reached the point of military confrontation.

He pointed out that the memory of political history on the tripartite relations between Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea, over the past three decades, which witnessed hostility and war between Ethiopia and the Eritrea, indicates that any rapprochement and improvement of relations between Sudan and one of the parties is a plot against the third party, and Khartoum has been hostage to this belief throughout It’s period until the announcement of the 2018 Ethiopian-Eritrean peace agreement, and now after the fall of the fig leaf of the agreement, the old belief has come back to light to renew the event.

The Sudanese writer felt that “in light of this complex scene between the Triple Alliance, Sudan must stop and reflect and not show a reaction that can be relied on and which falls into taboo, given the the acceleration of the Eritrean party to bring about a rapprochement which restores the course of relations to a privileged situation.”

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