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Ethiopia: Eritrea, Guarantors dump Algiers Accord or face war


19 Dec 2004

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - In flagrant contravention of the Algiers peace accord with Eritrea and in outright defiance of the decision of an international court that settled the border dispute with Eritrea conclusively and irreversibly, Ethiopia unveiled on 25 Nov 2004 a fraudulent proposal to renegotiate and re-settle the border dispute Ethiopia’s way. Eritrea rebuffed Ethiopia’s proposal because it constitutes blatant violation of Algiers and correctly called for strict adherence to the binding agreement that both countries signed in Algiers and reminded the int’l community of its treaty obligation to ensure strict adherence to the Algiers agreement in words and deeds in its role as Guarantor of the peace agreement. Absent that, the situation in the Horn is unpredictable and the fare up of war cannot be ruled out with any certainty.

But in a bizarre but understandable twist of things, Ethiopia today perceives any call for strict adherence to the Algiers peace truce as a declaration of war on Ethiopia and wants Eritrea and the rest of the world to dump Algiers and endorse its fraudulent proposal or else face war simply because Algiers did not work in Ethiopia’s favor. Thus, Ethiopia’s calls warning Eritrea “not to declare war on Ethiopia” is nothing but same old lame ploy to stop Eritrea from calling for Algiers and a scare maneuver to prevent the guarantor nations from rising up to their treaty obligation to ensure strict adherence to the Algiers agreement in words and deeds, and of course a pretext to start war.  Other than that, Eritrea has and did not declare war or threatened use force against Ethiopia for the simple fact that it would violate the Peace truce signed in Algiers. Yesterday, Ethiopia again issued such a statement “warning Eritrea not to declare war on Ethiopia”, the text of which follows:

Army Chief of Staff Lt-Gen Samora Yenus said the army would contribute its share for the implementation of the new peace initiative put forward by the Ethiopian government to resolve the Ethiopia-Eritrean border dispute.

In an interview with Addis Zemen, an Amharic daily, recently, [Samora said] members of the army have confirmed that they would pay the necessary sacrifices for the practical implementation of the proposal after they make an indepth discussions on the initiative. [Words indistinct] an army which is unable to support a public agenda cannot safeguard the sovereignty of its country. Samora stressed the needs that members of the army should contribute their share for the success of the proposal.

Lt-Gen Samora said an army that is at the disposal of a public agenda would not necessarily go to war unless obliged to. But if obliged, it could emerge victoriously. The building of an army is intended for peaceful purpose not necessarily for war, and peace is insured by avoiding conflict and war, he said, adding that if war erupts forcefully, the only means is to end it as quickly as possible.

Samora said the national army would strive for the practical application of the new peace proposal based on the interest of the people and government of Ethiopia: It will be in our best interest if the Eritrean government does not declare war on our country, but if did, it would be our duty to foil the aggression and maintain peace, he said. Samora said the wish of the Eritrean people need to be peace, development and democracy. He said the desperate Eritrean government is trying to forcefully drag its people into war. Lt-Gen [Samora] said the Eritreans need give a chance to peace. Text of report in English by Ethiopian radio on 18 December

Source: Radio Ethiopia external service, Addis Ababa, via BBC Monitoring service, in English 1630 gmt 18 Dec 04