CPA or Naivasha Agreement divided Sudan into “two Sudans” but it has put the end for 25-year bloody civil war. It seems that 6-years interim period from 2005-2011 before the independence of South Sudan didn’t solve all suspended issues but one of the good lessons was the positive involvement of neighbors of Sudan in mediating between brothers or at least in being impartial, which is an ethical and moral stance. The only exception was the war by proxy in Darfur and Chad which reached Khartoum in May 2008, and N’Djamena in April 2006 and February 2008. Finally, Sudan and Chad formed the “Sudanese Chadian Joint Forces” then all things were put in the right track.
Ethiopia did not stop its mediation between Sudan and South Sudan in spite of its disputes with Eritrea. South Sudan has border disputes with Kenya and Uganda but these disputes didn’t cause any tension between South Sudan and the two countries, it was not a reason at any time to cause any problems. Kenya mediation concluded CPA and Kampala hosted Al-Bashir – Garang meeting in July 2002. All these facts support the South Sudanese mediation between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Nearly 70,000 lives were lost and tens of thousands people were displaced during the two-year war over four disputed territories between Ethiopia and Eritrea. After this war, there were no indicators for a new war but unfortunately in January 2012 all things changed and the ghost of war came out from the graves again. Afar rebels allegedly harbored by Eritrea attacked Ethiopian lands, and Ethiopia was shocked by the death and abduction of European tourists in Afar region. On March 16th, 2012, the Ethiopian government announced that it had crossed into Eritrean territory in a counter-attack against rebels. Asmara’s alleged role in the terrorist attack and Ethiopian counter-attack made the first direct military confrontation between the two neighbors since the 1998-2000 border war.
Addis Ababa, “the Brussels of Africa” is famous of its good and continuous role in mediating between Khartoum and Juba. It seems that Juba wants to play the same role between Addis and Asmara, which will be the first regional role for South Sudan.
Deng Alor’s declaration which came in September 2012 about South Sudanese mediation between Ethiopia and Eritrea is very timely and matching with the situation and places. It is the expected assistance from neighbors to neighbors, and the criticism that faced Deng Alor comes against facts and local solutions because the suspended issues does not paralyze the Ethiopian positive role in the whole continent not just between Sudan and South Sudan!