The silence of the International community over the actions of the defiant Ethiopia that obstructs the demarcation of the boundary according to the ruling of Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) given an April 22, 2002 is amongst the most atrocious crimes the world has witnessed.
The Eritrea- Ethiopia Boundary Commission was established pursuant to an agreement dated 12 December 2000. The Commission’s mandate was to delimit and demarcate the border based on pertinent colonial treaties (1900, 1902 and 1908) and applicable international laws. The EEBC had reached a final and binding decision on April 12, 2002, following two years of deliberation. Badme, the flash point of the conflict, was awarded to Eritrea. It’s during this period that the TPLF regime affirmed to the public with confidence that Badme had been awarded to Ethiopia, resulting in premature celebration in the streets of Addis Ababa. Shortly after, TPLF rejected the commission’s final and binding ruling. The main objective of such a reckless behaviour was to drag the peace process for as long as possible in hopes that Eritrea would collapse.
The Peace Agreement that outlined the final and binding nature of the EEBC ruling was signed in the presence of the UN Secretary General, the Chairperson of the AU, the USA Secretary of State, as well as the envoy of EU. The agreements signed between Eritrea and Ethiopia clearly state that any party that fails to conform to any or all terms of agreements would be subjected to political, diplomatic, economic and military measures by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). This indicates that the UNSC is responsible for guaranteeing and enforcing the Boundary Commission ruling. In spite of this, the Ethiopian government disregarded the Algiers Agreement, impeded the border demarcation and ignoring calls to implement the EEBC decision, continues to occupy sovereign Eritrean territory. The reason Ethiopia is disobeying the court decision is only because it’s been protected by the US, which is one of the principal guarantors.
Strangely, instead of forcing the aggressor the world has engaged in futile attempts of correcting the wrong by doing additional wrong. The world is working to cover its mistakes by punishing and accusing the victim. After many undeclared sanctions the UNSC was made to pass sanction resolution that is totally unacceptable, both on legal and political grounds. The Resolution has no legal justification. Had the Security Council been on the right track, it should have imposed sanctions against Ethiopia for its refusal to enforce the decision of the Boundary Commission.
If we took the Security Council as an ideal authority and the US as a global power that acts in accordance with rules and standards, they both have deviated from their track. The baseless sanction resolution undermines the reputation of the Council. Instead of apologizing to the people of Eritrea and restore things the UNSC has continued to go out of its track and impose unnecessary misery. It has been 16 years since and it still continues without considering taking the necessary steps to resolve the Eritrea-Ethiopian crisis by pressuring Ethiopia to withdraw from the occupied Eritrean territories. As such, the UNSC is being called upon to consider this case seriously and, with an open-mind, lift the sanction against Eritrea. The Security Council also needs to be reminded about shouldering its responsibility as a guarantor of the 2000 Algiers’s Agreement and force Ethiopia to abide by the EEBC’s “final & binding” ruling.
In addition to the baseless sanctions, groundless accusations of human rights and political and diplomatic intrigues aimed at placing Eritrea in unfavourable position and branding it a gruesome insignia were intensely tried. National service which was a necessary response to the continued aggression and occupation of Eritrean land by Ethiopia has been singled out for criticism. The fact is however, besides preventing external threats, national service in Eritrea is an instrument to build a viable nation, solid national identity.
On the other hand decorating and guarding the TPLF has become the norm. This deceptive political dancing couldn’t attract the attention of the Ethiopian people who have been longing for peace and justice. The political, diplomatic and economic assistance given to the TPLF regime have far reaching objectives. The goal is to give political nutrients necessary to strengthen the flimsy TPLF muscle and to instil a sense of fear on Eritrea. However, the unnatural bulge of forearm failed to cover the ideological gauntness of the TPLF. The political consciousness and correctitude of line of the Eritrean government is still floating over the aggressive stance of Weyane and its surrogates.
Successive Ethiopian leaders have mastered the art of deception by spiting words of peace to please uninformed or ill-informed audience. They continued to chant and call for peace while they practically blocked the avenues of peace. Ethiopia’s call for peace and dialogue is a window curtain to hide the reality. Abiding by the Algiers peace treaty and implementing the final and binding court decision of April 13, 2002 are the only avenue for peace. Had the Algiers Agreement been respected, the final and binding court decision accepted, and the demarcation of the boundary implemented, the tense relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia would be normalized overnight. The new Ethiopian Prime Minister, just like his predecessor, has been uttering about peace with Eritrea without mentioning the issue of demarcation and illegal occupation of Ethiopia. In order for peace to prevail between the two countries, Ethiopia must withdraw from Eritrean territory and abide by international laws including the signed treaties. Otherwise as honey words can’t feed the hungry, promising words without practical action have no effect that go beyond vain public relations consumption.
The contumacy of the Weyane has continued to this date when the clique is slipping from stagnation to mortification. The absence of international pressure and the dereliction of the guarantors of the Algiers peace treaty gave confidence to the dying clique to undermine the pre eminence of law. The silence of the international community, especially the UNSC, is very risky with far reaching consequences. The rays of danger of suspension of the EEBC decision reach everywhere to shade a frightening light of insecurity. The TPLF’s disobedience to abide by the treaty of Algiers and the court decision and its impunity would encourage aggressors. This silence would further cause the confidence of member states on the governing international organizations to deteriorate. Above all it must be noted that the root of all the undesirables that occurred in Eritrea is the non-implementation of the actual demarcation and Ethiopian occupation of the sovereign territory of Eritrea.
The prolonged disobedience of the TPLF to resolve the dispute is a clear indication of the ‘other hidden agenda’ of the so called border dispute. The late Prime Minister Meles and the former prime- minister Hailemariam had publicly stated their intended plan of bringing about regime change in Eritrea. For some reason the TPLF has been shocked by the presence of Shaibia. For them Shaibia is a nightmare. The escalated hatred and suspicion of Ethiopia on Shaibia have no factual bases. In fact, historical accounts tell us a story of cooperation and sacrifice of Shaibia in bringing peace to Ethiopia and bringing the TPLF to power. The problem arises from a mix of inferiority and superiority complex of the TPLF. The imagined self image of Ethiopia as the super-power of the Horn is one of the reasons. The TPLF calculator demanded the overthrow of Shaibia to get the required result. Its illusionary transformation from cock to bull made the TPLF to believe regime change in Eritrea was necessary. It has been known that the confidence and self reliance of Shaibia has been seen as a threat that has scared the TPLF.
In an age when pre-emptive attack is legitimized, it’s strange to criticise Eritrea’s response to self-defence. While the aggressor is praised and protected the victim, Eritrea, is being accused and punished. The exaggerated representation and baseless accusation thrown at national service without mentioning the existential threat posed by Ethiopia is a clear illustration of double standard.
The UNSC turned a blind eye, when Ethiopia invaded Eritrea (1998- 2000), when it has continued its illegal occupation of Eritrean territory identified by EEBC (2002-) and when it made military provocations such as the Tsorona incident of 2016. As an international body authorized to monitor global peace and security, the UNSC it must shoulder its responsibility by forcing Ethiopia, a country of deprivation, hopelessness and lawlessness, to abide by the final and binding decision of the EEBC. The guarantors of the Algiers peace treaty must bear their responsibility to end the 16 year of Ethiopia’s unbridled aggression and defiance.