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Sudan’s al-Bashir to visit Ethiopia amid speculation he will meet Eritrea’s Afwerki

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Sudan President Omer al-Bashir meets with Ethiopia's PM Abiy Ahmed Ali in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia on 21 Aprl 2018 (SUNA Photo)
December 7, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir on Saturday would travel to Addis Ababa to participate in the Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and People’s Day celebration amid speculation that the Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki will also be there.

In January 2018, Sudan accused Eritrea of supporting rebel groups and closed the border after the deployment of thousands of troops. Four months later, Asmara accused Sudan, Ethiopia and Qatar of supporting armed opposition groups to overthrow President Isaias Afewerki’s government.

But in July, Ethiopia and Eritrea reconciled and normalized relations between the two neighbouring countries.

The participation of President Afwerki in Ethiopia’s celebration will be the first of its kind since the two countries resumed formal relations following two decades of rupture.

However, it is not certain that the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, will be able to bring al-Bashir and Afwerki together on the sidelines of the celebration.

It is noteworthy that Ahmed has launched several initiatives to give Asmara a way to come in from the cold as he mediated between Afwerki and leaders of Somalia and Djibouti.

Last September the IGAD Council of Minister said it would discuss the normalization of relations between Djibouti and Eritrea; and between Eritrea and Sudan. However, the east African bloc did not make any mention to the matter in it its statement after the meeting of 12 September.

Ethiopia is the second-most populous nation on the African continent after Nigeria with over 100 million inhabitants who are distributed among 83 nationalities.

It has decided to celebrate Nations, Nationalities and People’s Day on 9 December since 2005, to commemorate the day of the ratification of the nations’ constitution.

The day serves as an important forum for nations, nationalities and people’s to show their culture, know each other and show unity and strong solidarity for peace.

(ST)

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