Eritrea's Afwerki says borders open to people fleeing Sudan war
Wednesday May 03 2023
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki has announced that his country's borders are open to Sudanese or nationals of other countries who are fleeing the fierce fighting in neighbouring Sudan.
"Eritrea has open borders and without fanfare will continue to receive Eritrean and Sudanese civilians as well as others affected by the current conflict and share with them whatever it has," President Isaias said.
The Eritrean leader made the remarks during a rare nationally televised live interview he gave on Monday night.
He also spoke in Arabic to stress the solidarity of Eritrea with, and convey a message to the people of the Sudan who had offered sanctuary to Eritreans during the decades-long armed struggle for liberation.
Isaias said the “purported controversy” that has triggered the current conflict in Sudan and which is likely to reverse the transition process must be rectified.
He said questions and confusion should not be raised about the unity of Sudan's defence and security institutions.
"There cannot, also, be any controversy or lack of consensus on the need for a unitary defence and security organs in the Sudan" he said.
"This is neither the time for Sudanese political forces to claim sole ownership of the reform process nor for political squabbles or power-struggle," he added.
He stressed the imperative and urgency of bringing to an immediate end the tragic and deplorable conflict that is raging in Sudan.
He said the regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), must play a leading role in resolving the Sudanese crisis.
"The task of rectifying these costly distortions falls on the Sudanese people. Sudan's neighbours, individually and through Igad, can facilitate an enabling environment for the people of the Sudan in their efforts to crystallise the new political dispensation that they desire" he said.
Complement Igad's efforts
He added that other partners who have the goodwill can support and complement Igad's efforts and shortcomings when necessary.
Asmara boycotted the regional bloc – where it was an original member – in 2007, citing bias.
But recently, Eritrea has shown interest to return to Igad, particularly after Kenyan President William Ruto and the Eritrean leader visited each other’s countries in December and February.
Previously, Igad said that President Ruto has been instrumental in convincing Isaias to return to the bloc.
Eritrea shares a land border with its neighbour Sudan, and thousands of its citizens live in Sudan.