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Ethiopia’s Relation with Sudan and South Sudan After Meles Martha G. Bekele February 2013
Description of Countries �Ethiopia � Meles Zenawi (1991 -1995 president; 1995 -August 2012 Prime Minister) � Hailemariam Desalegn (September 2012 -Present); both members of EPRDF* � Estimated population size 76. 9 million (census 2007) �Sudan � President Omar Hassan Ahmed Al-Beshir (1993 -) � Population size 34. 3 million (2011 est) �The Republic of South Sudan � Salva Kiir Mayardit, first elected president � Independent state on 9 July 2011 through referendum with 98. 8% votes in favour � Estimated Population 8 million*
ECONOMIC/TRADE Relation Ethio-Sudan � the Ethio-Sudanese electric power transmission line � Use of Port Sudan* � Two highways connecting Metemma-Gedaref-Port sudan; and Asosa– Kumruk � For Ethiopian exporters, Sudan is an important market destination than compared to EAC countries in the region. � FTA** between Ethiopia and Sudan, no tariff barrier on industrial and agricultural goods based on ROO***. � Currently it is estimated that about three million Ethiopians reside in Sudan, according to the Sudanese government****. Ethio-South Sudan � Signed MOU in March 2012 for possible cooperation in fields of: � transit, transport, export, communication, education, capacity building etc
Historical Relation �Ethiopia is a Greek word for “dark” or black”. Sudan is an Arabic word for “dark” or “black”; �Nuer, Anwak and Berta tribes live in both countries; �Strong economic and political relations started in the 19 th C. Emperor Yohannes of Ethiopia* died fighting against the Dervish of Sudan in 1889
Meles and the Sudans � SUDAN: provided military support to Meles’ party, TPLF starting from late 1980 s by providing launching base in Eastern Sudan (Hassan al. Turabi) � Meles expelled SPLM fighters from the Ethiopian base, Gambella, once EPRDF took power; � Strained relation in 1995 because Khartoum reportedly was behind the attempted assassination of Hosni Mubarak, the late Egyptian leader*; � Meles reconciled with Al Bashir in 1999 following the Ethio. Eritrea war � Meles maintained good relation with Al Bashir in the wake of international isolation � South Sudan: during the guerrilla war TPLF engaged with then Ethiopian military Junta, the latter provided military support to SPLM, � Meles resumed Ethiopia’s support for SPLM after the assassination attempt on the late Egyptian leader
Prominent Roles of the Late PM I. MELES THE PEACE BROKER: the late PM was trusted by both Khartoum and Juba and his mediation efforts were appreciated by all. ‘While Uganda, Kenya, Egypt and Libya were seen as too biased and lacking in deep knowledge of the salient issues, Meles enjoyed widespread appreciation as a regional statesman within the African Union and within the Sudans as a leader in whom sometimes impossible levels of personal trust were placed’. Harry Verhoeven II. MELES THE ANTI-TERROR ALLY: Meles was viewed as one of the greatest allies of the West/US**, in relation to War on Terror in Africa. He manipulated successfully the fears of the US to gain trust, financial and military aid. Surrounded by unfriendly, Islamic nations such as Sudan and Somalia, Meles positioned the country in such a way that it plays a proactive role against war on terror.
Prominent Role cont’d III. MELES THE ENGINEER: The late PM championed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project that no other Ethiopian leader attempted before. The dam project is the largest hydroelectric plant in Africa on the Blue Nile river. The 6, 000 MW project is 40 km from Eastern Sudan. The 1929 colonial treaty was replaced by a new agreement in 2010, adopted by upstream countries but rejected by Egypt and Sudan.
Lingering Questions Lingering questions around the geo-political relations of Eth with neigbouring countries, Sudan and South Sudan are: � The Peace Process between Sudan and South Sudan: Meles disagreed with Sudan and South Sudan at some point but became a major ally. He had deep understanding of the peace and security issues of the two countries. Meles, viewed as a great regional statesman, was at the forefront for negotiation settlement. Will outstanding issues be settled amicably between the two countries, without the ‘greatest regional statesman’? � Ethiopia’s Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam: will Egypt and Sudan try to sabotage the project’s progress? There already reports that Egypt plans to wreck the project using Sudanese airspace*. � Ethiopian Muslims are calling for an Islamic state. Will Morsi’s government and its relation with immediate Islamist neighbours of Sudan and Somalia play out to the disadvantage of Ethiopia?
Geo-Political Relation After Meles Depends on…. 1. Future strategic interests of Ethiopia in relation to its neigbours; 2. Meaningful power and decision making autonomy that the new PM, Hailmariam Desalegn, has/will have � Re: TPLF* still enjoys control over military**, intelligence and federal police services. Probably having no meaningful power is the key to stability and continuity of Meles’ legacy? ? ?
Outstanding issues/threats �Regional Integration of the HOA �Sudan’s relation with Egypt: National Threat �Demarcation of Ethio-Sudan border: in 2008, a rumour was circulating that Ethiopia had a secret deal with Sudan, where the former ceded parts of its land to Sudan, in an attempt to re-demarcate the boundary.
Conclusion �Notwithstanding the above issues, no major change in diplomatic relations is expected after the late PM �No major surprises expected as long as: �Decision making process continues to be consultative �Institutions, not individuals, steer the power machine �Better regional integration and cooperation are pursued.
Whether state of affairs during Meles were a one-man show; or a result of strong collective/party decision Remains to be seen………
References � Harry Verhoeven (August 29, 2012). The Sudan-South Sudan Relationship after Meles Zenawi: Can Khartoum-Juba negotiations survive the demise of their most important African backer? . www. thinkafricapress. com (access on February 15, 2013). � Institute of Development Studies (Oct 2012). After Meles: Implications For Ethiopia’s Development. Rapid Response Briefing. � Land, Thomas (2013). HYDRO-POWER -Egypt & Sudan outraged by Ethiopia's Blue Nile Dam. Available on www. hydroworld. com � Map Data 2013. www. orion-me. com � Moges, Kibre (2008). Ethiopia’s Trade Relation with the EAC and Sudan. Ethiopian Economic Association � Wondwosen TESHOME, B. (2009). Colonial Boundaries Of Africa: The Case Of Ethiopia’s Boundary With Sudan. University of Vienna, Department of Anthropology, Austria,