Eritrea/Ethiopia: UNSC needs to rein in UN
envoy L. Axworthy
20 Jan 2005
peace process between Eritrea and Ethiopia got stuck after Ethiopia refused to
accept the border ruling and subsequently stopped its physical implementation
(demarcation of the shared border) in an outright and flagrant violation of the
international peace agreement (Algiers peace accord) that both countries signed
and agreed to only abide by.
In light of that, L. Axworthy was brought in into the
scene for the sole purpose and intent to ensure that the Algiers peace accord
is strictly adhered to, the decision of the Boundary Commission is complied
with and is accepted unequivocally, and to facilitate (catalyze) expedited
demarcation of the shared border as decided and determined by the commission.
Moreover, Mr. Axworthy got it in writing that there isn’t and can’t be any
alternative to the boundary commission and its decision obviously because of
provisions stipulated by the Algiers peace accord. What Mr. Axworthy has been
tasked with, therefore, clearly pertains to Ethiopia alone not only because
Eritrea has long been in full compliance with all that what Mr. Axworthy has to
accomplish but also because it is Ethiopia’s non-compliance that led to the
stalling of the peace process in defiance of all that what Mr. Axworthy has
been assigned to maintain.
Although that is the expressed job description of Mr.
Axworthy, he has willfully redefined and re-described it to the absolute
contrary: Instead of bringing Ethiopia into compliance with a court’s decision,
Mr. Axworthy has been on an indeed adventurous exploratory mission to bring the
court’s decision into compliance with Ethiopia, in defiance of any and every
logic known to mankind. To that effect, Mr. Axworthy has left no stone unturned
to get the compliant party (Eritrea) out of compliance in an attempt to break
the sanctity of the decision and render it open for re-negotiation until it is
dead or is reversed in Ethiopia’s favor and hence unraveling the peace process.
On the other hand, Mr. Axworthy has not taken one single measure to get the
non-compliant party (Ethiopia) even close to compliance. Ethiopia’s recent
talks about “appointing field liaison officers and paying commission fees” were
expressions of mere readiness to do so only if its demands to renegotiate the
border decision were met. This cannot
be representative of the interests of the international community. Thus, the UN
Security Council needs to rein in Mr. Axworthy before things turn to the worst.
A status summary of the peace process is well in place
here. The delimitation and demarcation decision of the boundary commission is
neither revocable, reversible, nor negotiable/‘dialogue-able’. Both countries
have conferred upon the Boundary Commission the sole and exclusive authority to
implement its border decision. Moreover, the Boundary Commission has a
mechanism, wherein both sides are represented via their respective field
liaison officers, in place to remedy consequences of the delimitation decision
(such as territorial and population shifts, real state discrepancies, etc)
without departing from the decision itself. By treaty, once the border decision
has been pronounced, its immediate implementation ensues and the parties have
to and must only cooperate with the Boundary Commission (cooperate meaning to
do what is asked and required of them by the commission without ifs and buts).
The Boundary Commission has been prevented from doing its
job and the peace process has stalled solely because of Ethiopia’s plain and
simple refusal to accept the border decision. Regardless, the international
community has repeatedly expressed its commitment to the unequivocal
implementation of the border decision in particular and the Algiers peace
accord in general. Clearly, Ethiopia is then the target of Axworthy’s
job/mission to move the stalled peace process forward, for Eritrea has long
been compliant and in synch with what the int’l community is calling for and is
committed to do.
No one can be against dialogue, getting two opponents
together, or normalization of relations for it’s all well-intended and standard
maxim in such situations. But what purpose does the call for any such approach
have when the main cause and reason for the lack thereof: Ethiopia’s refusal to
accept the border decision persists, other than to use such good and well
sounding venues as pretext to tamper with the border decision if possible or
filibuster its implementation otherwise, thereby aggravating the compliant
party for lack of respect for its compliance and endangering the peace process
What purpose does the call for any such approach have
when the indispensable minimum basis for that is lacking due to Ethiopia’s
persistent refusal to accept the border decision except to use such good and
well sounding venues as pretext to force the compliant party to decline and
hence aggravate it by projecting baseless intransigence on it leading to heated
exchange and war of words that could easily imperil the peace process?
What purpose does Mr. Axworthy’s endless call for access
to Eritrean authorities have if he accepts the ultimate authority of the
boundary commission and the finality of its delimitation and demarcation
decision if it were not aimed at tampering with its sanctity or simply
provoking the compliant party to decline and then to aggravate it by projecting
on it unfounded unhelpfulness and engaging it in a war of words that again
would jeopardize the peace process?
What purpose does Mr. Axworthy’s incessant talks about
“border dispute/conflict/differences” have when the entire world has accepted
and treats the border decision as final and binding and when Eritrea is not
disputing anything if it were not aimed at disputing and undermining its
finality, which would seriously unravel the peace process?
If Mr. Axworthy accepts the Algiers peace accord as the
only mechanism for peace and stability between Eritrea and Ethiopia, then what
purpose does his advocacy and propagation of a plan that manifestly ruins
Algiers have if it were not aimed at caving and hollowing out of the integrity
of the Algiers peace accord, which is a recipe for the demise of the peace
If Mr. Axworthy recognizes and acknowledges the sole and
exclusive authority of the EEBC, then what purpose does his willful relegation
of the EEBC to “central/primary role player”, “ being part of the solution”
have but an attempt to undercut EEBC’s authority, which would certainly
constitute another patented recipe for the demise of the peace process?
If Mr. Axworthy has respect for the decision of the EEBC
and the US stance on the peace process, then what purpose does his visits with
the respective authorities have if it were not an evil attempt to badger them
to alter their position, which would have meant a catastrophic end of the peace
The list is long and none of the aforementioned
activities of Mr. Axworthy could by any means be representative of the
interests of the international community let alone serve the cause of peace.
Ever since the advent of Mr. Axworthy, the situation between Eritrea and
Ethiopia has become volatile like never before and the peace process is
literally hanging by the thread.
Evidently, Mr. Axworthy is out there not to ensure strict
adherence to the Algiers agreement but is firmly intent to ruin it by
“developing, refashioning, and revising it” as he says, which would then means
ultimate blow to the peace process. Thus, unless the UN Security Council
intervenes and reins in Mr. Axworthy and his activities, it won’t be long
before the feared prevails in the Horn of Africa. Thanks. Team EritreaDaily
PS.: This article is free to be
adopted in any form or shape and redistributed to serve the purpose of getting
the word out to the UNSC. Thanks.
UNSC current presidency (Argentina)
Ambassador Cesar Mayoral