[DEHAI] OAU - AU - IGAD, same virus different strand

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From: Haile Abraham (haileab99@msn.com)
Date: Wed May 27 2009 - 11:00:59 EDT



As we, underlined at the OAU High Level meeting in Ouagadougou on November 8, Eritrea recognizes the positive elements in the paper submitted to both Parties. We had given our initial response then. In order to give our full and definitive opinion, we request clarification to the following issues (attached to this letter).


From the moment that the OAU was seized of the conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia, we have clearly communicated our reservations on the approach taken. These reservations, which unfortunately were not taken into account, include:


In spite of its goodwill, the OAU Summit in Ouagadougou adopted the resolution on the basis of the misguided approach and report of the Facilitators Team. This has posed and remains a major handicap to the OAU initiative, severely limiting a fresh and independent approach. Indeed, while Eritrea had made it clear that the facilitation process was over and it regarded the OAU initiative as a new one, the recommendations by the committee of Ambassadors revolved around the same parameters that had led to the failure of the facilitation process.


Eritrea had emphasized from the outset that this was a test case for the OAU involving as it did the recognition and respect of colonial boundaries. In this sprit, Eritrea submitted its constructive proposals, supported by the relevant documents, on resolving this cardinal issue through demarcation. Unfortunately, the Committee has focused more on secondary issues. In particular, the Committee concentrated on the non-fundamental issue of administration of only one area while refusing to consider the more important questions of how the crisis originated and where that area lay in respect of the recognized boundary.


Eritrea was put at a disadvantage as Ethiopia had access to the workings of the Committee through the presence of Djibouti. (In contrast, Rwanda, which was mandated by the OAU Summit, withdrew so as not to bias a fresh start by the OAU Committee in view of its earlier role in the facilitation process). The fact that the OAU Headquarters is in Addis Ababa where Eritrea has these days limited if no access was an added disadvantage.


Ethiopia has and continues to perpetrate gross violation of human rights against our citizens long-resident in that country. Ethiopia has to-date expelled more than 42,000 Eritreans in the most inhumane way while confiscating their property. Around 1500 of our citizens are languishing in the concentration camp of Blaten while an unknown number also remain detained in other prisons in Ethiopia. Sadly, the OAU has not taken appropriate measures to stop these gross violations which have a direct impact on the conflict.


The Ethiopian regime continues to reject all calls for measures to reduce the tension. It routinely issues threats and ultimatums that it will use force, particularly during periods preceding peace talks. Unfortunately, the OAU has not succeeded in at least arranging for a cessation of hostilities that would have created a conducive climate for a peaceful solution.


Issues that Require Clarification

Regarding Badme and environs

- the coordinates of Badme and its location relative to the recognized boundary?
- What is meant by environs? Which areas does it include?
- According to Ethiopia, "Badme and environs" means "all Ethiopian border territories occupied by Eritrea since May 6, 1998". What is the OAU's view?
- Has Ethiopia submitted to the OAU the totality of its claims as had been repeatedly requested by Eritrea?
Regarding redeployment

- What is the justification for unilateral Eritrean redeployment from Badme?
- Why redeployment to positions before May 6? Where precisely are these positions?
- What does "the redeployment be extended within the framework of demilitarization" mean? Whose redeployment is it?
Regarding civilian administration

- What is the justification for "reinstated civilian administration: if the area under consideration is Eritrean with an Eritrean population?
- What is the rationale for setting up an alien administration for a short time and when options exist for quick demarcation?
Regarding investigation

- What is the purpose of "an investigation on the incidents of July - August 1997 and 6 May 1998 and all incidents in between", if it has no bearing on the settlement of the dispute?
- Why are not the incidents that occurred on May 6 and that escalated through a series of spiraling clashes until May 12 not seen as one integral act of violation? Moreover why is May 6, 1998, seen as central? Why not July 1997?
Regarding colonial treaties

- Has the OAU ascertained that both sides recognize and respect the colonial boundary between the two countries as defined by the established colonial treaties?
- if this is the case, can this be affirmed through an agreement between the two Parties?
- What is the meaning of the clause "international law applicable to the colonial treaties"? What is the precise interpretation of the OAU and UN Charters concerning colonial treaties?
Regarding Demarcation

- What is the legal basis for demarcation?
- What are its modalities, mechanism and time-frame?
- What are the legal arrangements that will render the outcome binding?
The principle of "the non-use of force and intimidation"

- Has the Committee attempted to ascertain which Party has used force as a means of imposing a solution?
- Has the Committee tried to ascertain which party resorted to force in the July 1997 incident at Adi Murug; the January 1998 incident on the Assab road and the May incidents in Badme?
- What is the position of the Committee regarding the resolution of Ethiopia's Parliament on May 13, 1998 declaring war against Eritrea?
- Who launched the first air attack? When?
- Which Party imposed an air and maritime embargo; taking hostile measures to impose it?
- What is the position of the Committee on the repetitive threats of the Ethiopian government to unleash war?
- Who will investigate all these incidents and threats of war? Why and how is it possible to give judgment prior to these investigations?
Regarding the principle of peaceful solution to dispute

- Which Party has been routinely rejecting a peaceful solution?
- Is unconditional cessation of hostilities acceptable to both sides?
- If the response to the above question is negative, what are the reasons and its implications?
Regarding the violation of basic human rights of citizens

- Has the Committee taken stock of the basic violations committed and property illegally confiscated?
- What will be the role of the OAU in ensuring that these violations are redressed?
Regarding the Central Organ of the OAU

- What is the mandate of the Central Organ?
- What can we expect from the forthcoming meeting of the Central Organ?
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