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Eritrean opposition groups discuss preparations for unity conference

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December 26, 2009 (ADDIS ABABA) — Three Eritrean opposition groups held a two day meeting in the Ethiopian capital to discuss preparations for a unity conference they plan to organize in order to establish a new political structure.

The 22-23 December meeting was attended by leading officials from the Eritrean People’s Movement (EPM), the Eritrean Democratic Party (EDP), and the Eritrean People’s Party, reported the opposition Nharnet website on Friday.

Mr. Adhanom Gebremariam, a member of the joint committee of the three merging opposition forces hailed the efforts exerted in order to achieve the merger, stressing that unity is not a final objective in itself but a "positive development that can transform the struggle into a new stage and help us reach the goal of turning around the horrible situation in our country and save our people."

The participants pointed out the need to establish a strong and viable political party and discussed its role saying it should strengthen the Eritrean Democratic Alliance, a large umbrella for the opposition parties.

The preparatory meeting also deliberated on important issues such as the draft political platform and the draft party constitution. The participant adopted some recommendations and other inputs on the draft documents to be discussed at the upcoming merger conference.

The chairman of the Sena’a Cooperation Forum and representative of the Ethiopian government, Mr. Hubur Gebrekidan, in remarks delivered at opening sitting of the meeting, praised the merger of the three groups and pledged the support of the Ethiopian government and the regional forum to the meeting.

Ethiopia remains the main supporter of the Eritrean opposition as Asmara supports the Oromo and Ogaden rebel groups. Also Eritrea is accused of supporting the Somali insurgents.

(ST)

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