Political Ultimatum imperative to end Ethiopia’s persistent recalcitrance

Commentary: Team EritreaDaily.net



Following two years of border war (1998-2000) that claimed some 100 000 lives and under the pressure and active participation of the international community (notably USA, EU, UN,), Eritrea and Ethiopia signed the Algiers Agreement (Dec 2000) to end the border dispute peacefully and submitted themselves to legal arbitration.


Under the Algiers Agreement, both countries agreed and accepted in writing to establish the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) as the only and sole authority to adjudicate their border dispute whose ruling will be final and binding and which both parties agreed to only accept and abide by, wherever the chips may fall. Moreover, Ethiopia requested and was granted guarantee by the USA, EU, UN, AU, and Algeria that the EEBC ruling shall be enforced as decide and wherever the chips may fall if necessary

 by use of force as stipulated under UN Chapter VII.


Like all other African countries as we know them today, Eritrea was first established by Italy as a distinct colonial territory (Nation State) that was secured by distinct colonial treaties in 1890 as a result of the colonial “scramble for Africa” of the 19th Century. In 1962, Ethiopia forcibly annexed Ethiopia and declared it to its 14th province similar to Indonesia’s forceful annexation and declaration of East Timor (Portuguese colony) to its 27th province in 1976. In 1991, Eritrea reversed Ethiopia’s forceful annexation forcefully, liberated Land and people from every inch of Ethiopian subjugation and emerged as self-governing sovereign territory. That by way of brief intro to Eritrea’s geopolitical history.


In April of 2002, after a yearlong adjudication of every inch of the 960km long Eritro-Ethio international border, the Boundary Commission rendered its verdict, which per the Algiers Agreement can neither be rejected, appealed, renegotiated, re-argued, or re-opened, is guaranteed to be enforced, and for which there is no alternative. Accordingly, both countries are left with one and only one option: Only to accept and abide by the ruling. Every thing else constitutes defiance. Eritrea accepts the ruling. Ethiopia is defying the ruling simply because it did not go its way. Yes, just like that!


According to Algiers Agreement, defiance automatically triggers UN Chapter VII. But the international community deferred the automatics of Chapter VII in order to give  Ethiopia a chance to reconsider. Instead, Ethiopia abused this chance and left no stone unturned to torpedo the ruling and the peace agreement. To that effect Ethiopia fired an array of torpedoes: First they fired a torpedo pertaining to human and social consequences of the ruling, was shot down; they fired a torpedo questioning EEBC’s competence and integrity, it was shot down; then came the Cameroon/Nigeria torpedo, was shot down; they fired the dialogue torpedo, was shot down; then there was the partial acceptance torpedo, was shot down; they fired a torpedo called “alternative mechanism”, was shot down; and then came the  Axworthy torpedo, which was shot down by Eritrea, and more.  Ethiopia was firing all those torpedoes not to affect the ruling, which they know the entire world has accepted as final and binding, but simply to frustrate the EEBC and the international community by constantly trying to re-open, re-argue,  re-negotiate, and go around the ruling and with the fantasy that in so doing the ruling might fade or go away. In a further attempt to frustrate the int’l community, Ethiopia fired a penultimate torpedo threatening the int’l community to ignite a war if its demands to reverse the EEBC ruling and new border negotiation were not met (Sep.19 2003), which was again shot down. Then came the ultimate torpedo (16 Oct 2003) when Ethiopia unilaterally dismantled the EEBC, declared the ruling null and void, and proclaimed that it won’t accept any thing less than a new border negotiation. And that was shot down decisively on 7 Jan 2004.


It took the int’l community no less than three quarters of a dozen resolutions and innumerable presidential statements to shoot down Ethiopia’s attempts to torpedo the Algiers Agreement sending basically the same message over and over again without any effect at all. The frustration of the int’l community at those edentulous resolutions and statements and the call for measures to provide them with fixed dentures to break Ethiopia’s unending recalcitrance was eloquently expressed by

Ambassador Lauro Baja Jr., Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, in his first ever appearance at UNSC Eritrea-Ethiopia consultation session early January 04 as follows:

“There is a heavy sense of frustration whenever Security Council resolutions are either ignored or remain unheeded,” Baja said, noting that nine resolutions and four presidential statements have already been issued on Eritrea-Ethiopia during the last four years.” High level  British diplomats and the German chancellor experienced that live when they visited Ethiopia recently and discovered that Ethiopia has remained adamantly defiant and came out calling for the same thing: The int’l community had enough of this, Ethiopia’s persistent recalcitrance cannot go on indefinitely. It follows then that the int’l community is calling for a time limit beyond which action must be taken to break Ethiopia’s persistent recalcitrance. For this to bite and  have credibility, it then becomes imperative for the int’l community to take the first step by serving Ethiopia with a political ultimatum, which the int’l community is  in effect calling for. As a matter of fact and if it makes others feel better, it doesn’t matter if both parties are served with this measure. Eritrea has no problem with that for it stands in full compliance with the Algiers Agreement. There is ample precedence for that.


The int’l community has spoken loud and clear: It cannot take any more delay tactics. There is no substitute for the expeditious enforcement of the Boundary Commission’s ruling. Bogus immigration relaxation and the nonsensical “people-to-people” twaddle cannot  make-up for Ethiopia’s defiance of the Commissions ruling. The conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia is not personal. It is politico-legal conflict, which has been settled judicially and conclusively by the border ruling of  April 2002.Ethiopia must accept  and comply with the border ruling and vacate  occupied Eritrean territories. That is the only way relations between the peoples of the two nations can be re-established and restored. Every thing else is another delay tactic to go around the implementation of the border ruling. “The Algiers Peace Accord, ending the Eritrean Ethiopian conflict, must be respected without qualification  the USA.




Team EritreaDaily.net

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