May 17, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – The Eritrean president Isaias Afewerki launched an unprecedented attack on the ex-Southern rebel group Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM).
The pro-government Al-Rayaam newspaper quoted Afewerki in an interview to be published this week as saying that “corruption in South Sudan is no secret”.
Afewerki also told the newspaper that “security violations” continue in Southern Sudan.
The Eritrean head of state also said that the SPLM has a “vague” position with regards to unity or secession of South from the North and demanded that the movement “declare a clear view on the future of Sudan”.
“When you chose unity then there must be a program you are working on and there may be confrontations. The SPLM committed something to the people of the South and another to the people of Sudan but the reality is inconsistent with these commitments” Afewerki said.
He defended his remarks saying he is “keen on its [SPLM] political route” and denied that this signals any deterioration in relations with SPLM and added that the SPLM lost vision after the death it slater leader John Garang.
It is not clear what prompted the strong remarks by the Eritrean president against the SPLM. During the 1990’s Eritrea hosted the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) opposed to Khartoum which included the SPLM and even allowed its fighters to launch attacks in Eastern Sudan from there.