Two leading political advocates from
the Horn of Africa mounted a lively debate over Ethiopia's access to the sea
and control of the Eritrean port of Assab.
Eritrean opposition member Dawit
Ghebremeskel told the Tigrigna service's People to People that continued
complaints by Ethiopians that they should regain the port of Assab will only
provoke another round of bloodshed.
Gebru Asrat, a former president
of Tigray and the chairman of the Arena Tigrai party, told moderator Tewelde
Weldegebriel, "Arena would not solve problems but through legal and
peaceful means. Sea ports have security
and development factors for a nation," he added.
Dawit argued, "Arena's agenda is nothing new other than attempting to
reverse the Eritrean independence." He said Asrat's party is trying to use
Eritrean ports as playing card to gain traction in the Ethiopian political
space. Dawit charged that the main
problem is that there are still Ethiopian elites who do not recognize the
"But as long as they
recognize Eritrean sovereignty, no one can prevent the Ethiopians from
using the port," Dawit said. "They have
the right to use it."
Gebru said that access to ports
is important for Ethiopia's development.
So, too, is regional security. The
Eritrean people should not worry that Arena's programs could start another war
between the two countries. "We believe nothing can be changed by making wars,"
he said. However, he said, "The current
governments may want to survive at the excuse of wars."