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Eritrean president slams the separation of Sudan into two states

May 8, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Eritrean president Isaias Afewerki criticized the split of Sudan into two states saying that it was a result of "political blunders".

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Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki (Reuters)

In an interview with the pro-government Al-Shorooq TV, Afewerki said that Eritrea worked for Sudan’s unity over the last twenty years emphasizing that breaking up its territory into blocks may cast a shadow on the fate of the state which has seen a quantum leap in the areas of development.

Afewerki added that separation of South Sudan was the inevitable result of political blunders and international intervention that affected the region. He urged Sudanese people to preserve the unity of the remaining land.

Southern Sudanese voted in January to separate from the north and form a new nation, a referendum promised to them as part of a 2005 peace deal which ended the decades of civil war.

But many countries in the region have expressed unhappiness with the breakup of Sudan saying that it could set a precedent in the continent and trigger regional instability.

Eritrea split from Ethiopia in 1991 after three decades of conflict. Until the 2005 peace deal that granted South Sudan the right to self determination the region had fought Khartoum for all but nine years of Sudan’s independence.

Afewerki also warned against the "internationalization" of the Darfur crisis stressing that it will only complicate the situation. He pointed out that the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) signed in Abuja five years ago came through U.S. and international support but did not solve the problem and "failed miserably".

"Are the Sudanese people unable to resolve the crisis themselves?" he said . "I do not see the need for internationalization because it could lead the region ultimately to the same fate of South Sudan."

The insurgency in Darfur by African rebels has commanded unprecedented international attention and sparked a humanitarian emergency which claimed 300,000 lives and drove more than 2 million people from their homes according to UN estimates. Government figures put the number of deaths closer to 10,000.

The current Qatar-hosted peace talks in Doha have been delayed by rebel divisions and continued military operations on the ground.

(ST)