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Comment and Analysis Normalisation cannot precede removal of occupation

A wild story has been circulating in the past weeks alleging that President Isaias is “desperately looking for immediate normalization” with Ethiopia and had nudged, “with a sense of urgency”, President Al-Bashir to deliver on this “cardinal mission” during his visit to the country in mid-January.

The story delves into the itinerary of President Beshir’s visit, digressing into a graphic description of the “picturesque Filfil-Solomuna road” and narrates “tidbits of a purported chat” that both Presidents had “during a boat trip to some Islands in the Dahlak Archipelago”. Thus we are told: “a trustworthy source indicated that, several times during the journey, Isaias Afwerki asked Al Bashir, ‘do you see any Israeli bases here’?”

The creative narration, the montage photo of both Presidents as well as the frequent references to “our diplomatic sources in the Sudan” have been carefully choreographed in order to imbue the story with some degree of authenticity and credibility. But we know full well the identities and modus operandi of those engaged in frantic disinformation and smear campaigns against Eritrea for ulterior motives. And if one of their objectives was to spur mutual acrimony and drive a wedge between Eritrea and the Sudan through fabricated stories, we can only tell them to wallow in their pipe dream.

In as far as the real facts and Eritrea’s firm position are concerned; we underline, for the umpteenth time, the following;

1. Eritrea has not asked, and cannot ask, the good offices of President Beshir or any other intermediary to facilitate “normalization with Ethiopia”. The interests of regional peace and security cannot be enhanced by dwelling on imaginary scenarios and those who harbor such diversionary dreams should come to their senses to focus on real issues.

2. For several years now, various intelligence agencies have been fervently cultivating fabricated stories on the “presence of military bases of Israel and Iran in Eritrea’s Dahlak Islands”. The utter absurdity and fallacy of these allegations are too palpable to merit elaboration here. But the stories are repeated ad nuseum for purposes of disinformation as part and parcel of the invective campaigns against Eritrea. In the event, we can only reiterate that Eritrea’s land will never be mortgaged for any military base. In the same token, Eritrea has not and does not need to orchestrate pompous visits for President Beshir or any other Head of State to refute the phantom presence of Israeli or Iranian military bases in its territory.

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