Axworthy’s mission pertains to Ethiopia only


22 Feb 04


L. Axworthy’s arrival in Ethiopia for his first day of work as the newly embrocated UNSG’s special emissary to Eritrea and Ethiopia generated same media hoopla as the day his appointment was officially proclaimed. Now like then it was again too much ado for nothing. This time around, the furor was about his being off limits to Eritrea, which he brought upon himself because of his persistent attempt to circumvent the irreversible decision and sole authority of the Boundary Commission over the matter contrary to the declared purpose and intent of his mission.


That being said, what’s really off limits to Eritrea is Mr. Axworthy’s attempt to abuse his mission as a masquerade to re-open a legally settled matter, not Axworthy the person. In doing so, Eritrea is only giving Mr. Axworthy’s an opportunity to reconcile his subjective perception of the matter with the strict provisions of the Algiers agreement, the particulars and peculiarities of the Boundary Commission’s decision and authority, the nature of the dispute, and the premise and therein entailed specific assignments of his appointment. Absent that, Mr. Axworthy would be delving into a futile excursion to the fantasy world of linguistic acrobatic and semantic twisting because we would be talking about apples and oranges whereby the peace process would be unraveled. And as Mr. Axworty himself said “that doesn’t mean it is a permanent state of affair”. Mr. Axworthy will certainly be more than welcome to Eritrea as soon as he does what is rightly expected of his mission and gets the order of doing things right.


Mr. Axworthy’s denial of the Boundary Commisson’s decision and his attempt to abuse his mission to reopen a legally settled matter couldn’t be more clear than the statement he made to reporters on 23 Feb 04, before his departure for Libya: "I am very disappointed. It is very important to talk to Eritrean officials. They have an important case to make, which I would have liked to hear about," Axworthy told reporters in the Ethiopian capital. Mr. Axworthy, Sir, Eritrea has no case to be made. It made its only case in front of the boundary commission and that case has been settled legally and exists in the form of the boundary commission’s decision, which Eritrea accepted and accepts without qualification, and it is closed. You hear it from me, Sir, you hear it from all Eritreans, that is all Eritrea have to say and have been saying since day one of boundary decision. No secret, nothing to be curious about, Sir. Could you, Mr. Axworthy, say the same about Ethiopia? Depending on your answer, your mission is accomplished or dead. That is all there is to your mission, Mr. Axworthy.


"My mission is based on an honest effort by the international community and the United Nations to try and be helpful, and facilitate a peaceful end to the crisis,". Mr. Axworthy, who is kidding whom here? It is all about the fate of Boundary Commission’s decision: And there is no crisis there because no one else is disputing the boundary ruling but Ethiopia. That is not a crisis by any standard because the Algiers Agreement provides appropriate measures to remedy exactly this kind of noncompliance. How about giving that a thought?


The fuss about Axworthy’s temporary persona non grata in Eritrea shifted the focus away from the main reason and purpose of Axworthy’s appointment n the first place. Following two years of border war, Eritrea and Ethiopia signed the Algiers peace accord (2000) ending the war and submitted themselves to legal arbitration by an independent Boundary Commission. Both parties committed themselves and solemnly pledged to accept the Commission’s ruling as final, binding, and without appeal wherever the chips may fall. The Commission handed down it’s ruling (April 2002). Eritrea accepted the ruling. Ethiopia did not, simply because it didn’t go it’s way. Ethiopia’s defiance of the ruling took various forms including unilateral dismantling of the Commission, publicly dismissing its ruling as null and void, and reached its peak early January 04 when a concerted diplomatic effort to persuade Ethiopia into compliance hit snag causing the int’l community to call for end of Ethiopia’s defiance (GB: this cannot go on for ever, German Chancellor: Demarcation cannot wait until kingdom come).


Today, the peace process is faltering solely on Ethiopia’s utter noncompliance and adamantly outright defiance of the Commission’s ruling to the extent that it has alone, single handedly and under the threat of force halted the implementation of the decision leading to its indefinite suspension thereby stalling the peace process.

In light of the above and faced with Ethiopia’s mounting defiance, for Eritrea is compliant, the UN decided to beef up its personnel and to increase its diplomatic leverage by using good offices of UNSG and Mr. Axworthy was hired for the purpose of “moving the peace process forward”. But what is preventing the peace process from moving forward? The answer is obvious: Ethiopia’s non-acceptance with the boundary decision because Eritrea is 100% compliant. It then follows that Axworthy’s mission clearly pertains to Ethiopia, the non-compliant party.


Next, the premise of Axworthy’s appointment (SC/7972)& (SC/7997), 7 Jan 04and 30 Jan 04 respectively:

The decision of the Boundary Commission is final and binding

Job description of Axworthy: FACILITATOR, not negotiator, mediator, peace broker, to facilitate the implementation of what has already been achieved as follows:

·         To facilitate the implementation of the Algiers Agreement

·         To facilitate the implementation of the decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission

·         To facilitate the implementation of the relevant resolutions and decisions of the Security Council, one such decision that must be implemented is contained in UN Security Council’s response to PM Meles, 01 Oct o3 that rejected partial demarcation (piecemeal demarcation) unequivocally and called for demarcation to proceed in ALL sectors as directed by the Boundary Commission.


Now, who has problem in implementing any of the above-mentioned items? Certainly, Ethiopia because Eritrea is in full and complete compliance with all of above-mentioned items. It follows then again that Axworthy’s mission pertains to Ethiopia and Ethiopia only and he has to take it to Ethiopia rulers and help them to have it done whatever it takes? Mr. Axworthy, you have Eritrea’s full permission to accomplish that if that is why you so badly want to come to Eritrea? All other curiosities about what Eritrea officials have to say is fantasy because Eritrea like the int’l community and the UN has a patented answer to all of your queries: The decision of the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission is real, final, binding without appeal and Eritrea is on board. The int’l community and UN hope that you will get Ethiopia to repeat after that?



Team EritreaDaily