Eritrea on EU statement regarding Ethiopia's new peace plan
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Dec 04,
statement issued by Eritrean Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 3 December,
published in English by Eritrean Ministry of Information's Shabait web site on
Union has issued a conflicting statement this week in regard to the
Eritrea-Ethiopia peace process.
of Eritrea wishes to recall that it is four years now since Eritrea and
Ethiopia singed the Comprehensive Algiers Peace Agreement under the auspices of
the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity and other key witnesses,
including the United States, the European Union and leading African countries.
The Algiers Peace Agreement revolves around these three cardinal tenets:
* Resolution of
the border dispute by peaceful means with the formal signature of the Cessation
of Hostilities Agreement;
and demarcation of the border through legal instruments;
commitment by the parties to accept the commission's [Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary
Commission, EEBC] legal ruling as final and binding without further recourse to
a court of appeal or diplomatic mediation.
Article 14 of
[the] Algiers Agreement stipulates that the guarantors of the agreement shall
invoke Chapter VII of the UN Charter to take punitive measures against the
party that violates the provision of the agreement. The underlying rationale
for this explicit remedial action was the pattern of repeated violations of
earlier agreements. The fact was Ethiopia had formally accepted the Framework
Agreement, the Modalities of Implementation and Technical Arrangements at
various junctures of the peace process only to reject them when it had made
adequate military preparations and was about to launch its successive wars of
[violated] and continues to violate the Algiers Peace Agreement this time round
too and in spite of the punitive provisions embedded in the Algiers Agreement.
Addis Ababa accepted the boundary commission decision with much fanfare when it
was announced in April 2002, and even urged the international community to
"pressurize" Eritrea to ensure expeditious implementation. A couple
of months later, Ethiopia began to sing a different song and took several
measures to obstruct demarcation and the field work of the boundary commission.
Ethiopia took other provocative measures, including bringing new settlers to
Badme [the flashpoint of the war] and surrounding villages. And finally, on 19
September 2003, the Ethiopian prime minister rejected the boundary commission
decision, branding it as "irresponsible, illegal and unjust".
the international community preferred to look sideways and to accommodate
Ethiopia's violations rather than take credible action to ensure compliance. As
the Ethiopian foreign minister reported to his parliament in September this
year, Addis Ababa "had never had it so good". In addition to massive
humanitarian support, the international community provided Ethiopia with 970m
dollars of assistance in the past year. A substantial part of the assistance is
budgetary support or other fungible money that Ethiopia can easily divert to
pursue its war objectives. In this respect, the problem is not only Ethiopia
but those powers in the international community who have the necessary leverage
to promote peace but are refraining from doing so.
made by Ethiopia last week is hollow in practice despite unwarranted statements
made by some countries "welcoming it as a step forward".
"Acceptance in principle" of the boundary commission decision that
the prime minister continues to brand as "illegal and unjust" is not
only one step backward. It constitutes a serious violation of the Algiers
agreement which stipulates, without equivocation, that the decision is
"final and binding".
Ethiopia has made it abundantly clear that it will continue to obstruct
demarcation. Payment of its arrears to the boundary commission and appointment
of a liaison officer will be meaningless if, in the same breath, Ethiopia
maintains that demarcation will not begin before and unless there is
"dialogue" between the parties. The delimitation and demarcation of
the boundary is not and cannot be predicated on "dialogue" or
"normalization" of relations. The two sovereign nations may cultivate
various levels of bilateral cooperation to promote mutual benefits. Although
not desirable, they may also sever diplomatic ties. Whatever the case, this
cannot, clearly, be a pre-requisite or sine qua non for demarcating the
boundary of a sovereign nation. Eritrea finds linkages between demarcation of
the boundary and other tangential issues of bilateral relationship both
unacceptable and contrary to the provisions of the Algiers agreement.
is not a time to entertain or float new initiatives or "proposals".
This is a time to demarcate the boundary which should have happened much
earlier in accordance with the peace agreement.
international community, and particularly the [UN] Security Council, cannot
employ different standards to violations of international law. We hardly need
to emphasize that Ethiopia continues to occupy sovereign Eritrean territories
illegally and forcibly. If the Security Council has adopted Resolution 1559
compelling Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon, what are the moral
standards for rationalizing its silence in the case of Ethiopia? This is more
puzzling since Syria's original presence in Lebanon appears to have resulted
from a formal invitation of a sovereign Lebanese government.
We hardly need
to stress the implications of Ethiopia's continued intransigence and the
inexcusable attitude of major international powers. Eritrea has shown maximum
patience and restraint at huge humanitarian and economic cost. We cannot accept
the logic of force and accommodate Ethiopia's forcible occupation of our
territory. We cannot accept the dislocation of our people and condemn them to
live in makeshift camps for ever. We are long past the time for toothless
diplomatic words. If the international community is really committed to
promoting regional peace and security, this is the time for meaningful action
to compel Ethiopia to accept the boundary commission decision fully without
equivocation or qualifications, and to facilitate expeditious demarcation.
In the event,
the government of Eritrea urges the European Union to bring pressure to bear on
Ethiopia so as to ensure the:
unconditional respect of the Algiers agreement;
compliance with the boundary commission decision of 13 April 2002;
3. withdrawal of
Ethiopian forces from sovereign Eritrean territories;
demarcation of the boundary.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,