16 years of unbridled violence and defiance

Two Eritrean soldiers keep a watchful eye on the Eritrean/Ethiopian border from a vantage point on top of Eigar Mountain, near Tsorona, Eritrea, Jan. 25, 1999.


16 years of unbridled violence and defiance

Simon Weldemichael
Adi Keih College of Arts and Social Sciences
April 2018

The silence of International community over the defiant Ethiopia that obstruct the demarcation of the boundary according to the ruling of Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary commission (EEBC) given in April 22, 2002 is amongst the atrocious crimes the world have witnessed. Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission 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 after two years of deliberation. Badme, the flash point of the conflict, was awarded to Eritrea. It’s during this period that Weyane 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 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 with guaranteeing and enforcing the Boundary Commission ruling. In spite of all this, the Ethiopian government disregarded the Algiers Agreement, impeded the border demarcation, ignoring calls to implement the EEBC decision, and occupy sovereign Eritrean territory. The reason why Ethiopia is disobeying the court decision is only because it’s been protected by the US, which is one of the principal guarantors.

Strangely enough, instead of forcing the aggressor the world engaged in futile attempt 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 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 US as a global power that acts in accordance with rules and standards, they are deviated from their track. The baseless sanction resolution undermines the reputation of the Council. UNSC instead of apologizing to the people of Eritrea and restore things to the right it continued to go out of its track and imposed 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 open-mind and lift the sanction against Eritrea. The Security Council also needs to be reminded to shoulder 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 to place Eritrea in unfavourable corner and brand Eritrea a gruesome insignia were intensely tried. National service which was necessary response to the continued aggression and occupation of Ethiopia has been singled out to criticism. The fact is however, besides preventing external threats, national service is an instrument to create a viable nation, solid national identity and national reconstruction.

On the other hand decorating and guarding Weyane has become a tradition. The drivers of international system are engaging in setting a plain stage in which the Weyane actors wearing a rent gown spit borrowed hallow words from the script. The poor spirited Weyane has been shaken up by the clap and drum of its surrogates, ignoring the groaning and yelling of the hungry and angry Ethiopians, has passed a season of honeymoon. This deceptive political dancing couldn’t attract the attention of the peace and justice waiting people. The various political, diplomatic and economic assistance given to Weyane, have far reaching objectives. The goal was clear; to give political nutrients necessary to strengthen the flimsy Weyane muscle and to instil a sense of fear on Eritrea. However, the unnatural bulge of forearm failed to cover the ideological gauntness of Weyane. The political consciousness and correctitude of line of 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 calling to peace and dialogue is a window curtain to hide the reality. Abiding to the Algiers peace treaty and implementation of the final and binding court decision of April 13, 2002 are the only avenue to peace. Had the Algiers Agreement been respected, the final and binding court decision accepted, and the demarcation of the boundary implemented, the tense relation 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 goes beyond vain public relations consumption. Praying the prayer of the believers is not sufficient to unbelievers to join the camp of the believers.

The contumacy of Weyane is continued to this date when the clique has 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 international community especially 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 Weyane’s disobedience to the signing treaty of Algiers and court decision and its impunity would encourage aggressors. This silence would further deteriorate the confidence of member states on the governing international organizations. 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. Everything that doesn’t go right has direct connection to the issue of demarcation.

The prolonged disobedience of Weyane to resolve the dispute is a clear indication of the ‘other hidden agenda’ of the so called border dispute. Late Prime Minister Meles and the resigned Hailemariam had publicly stated their intended plan of regime change in Eritrea. For unreasonable thinking Weyane 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. Instead historical accounts tells us that a story of cooperation and sacrifice of Shaibia in bringing peace to Ethiopia and bringing into power of Weyane. The problem arises from the mix of inferiority and superiority complex of Weyane. The imagined self image of Ethiopia as a boss of the Horn is credited as one of the candidate reasons. TPLF calculator demanded the overthrow of Shaibia to get the required result. Its illusionary transformation from cock to bull made Weyane to believe regime change in Eritrea was necessary. It has been known that the confidence and self reliance of Shaibia has been a threat that scared the cub TPLF.

In an age where 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. While this was the fact much of the world continued to talk on the effect by ignoring credit to the Weyane’s aggression. The exaggerated representation and baseless accusation thrown at national service without mentioning to the existential threat posed by Ethiopia is a clear illustration of double standard.

The UNSC has still turned a blind eye, when Ethiopia invaded Eritrea (1998-2000), continued its illegal occupation of Eritrean territory identified by EEBC (2002-) and continued military provocations such as the Tsorona incident of 2016. As an international body authorized to monitor global peace and security it must shoulder its responsibility by forcing Ethiopia, a country of deprivation, hopelessness and lawlessness to abide by the final and binding decision of EEBC. The guarantors of Algiers peace treaty must bear their responsibility to end the 16 years of Ethiopia’s unbridled aggression and defiance.

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