By: Adem Berhan
November 20, 2003
Eritreans' unwavering commitment towards justice, peace and equity is as solid as always. The Eritrean spirit of defiance against all and any odds is stronger than ever. Since the Ethiopian government contemptuously rejected the final and binding border ruling efforts by the Eritrean government and its citizens abroad aimed at hastening the enforcement of the border ruling have been redoubled. The Eritrean government's diplomatic campaigns continue with intensity. Eritrean citizens abroad are busy undertaking their own diplomatic and political campaigns.
Eritrean Americans are lobbying with full force for the passing of H.R. 2760, a bill which would subject the Ethiopian government to certain sanctions for refusing to comply with the border verdict. Eritrean Canadians have done the same with the Canadian legislative body and have achieved significant successes. Eritreans Europeans just had a huge peace rally in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, where they urged the European Parliament to use its means and authority to compel the Ethiopian government to accept the border ruling. In addition, a petition signed by tens of thousands urging strong action by EU has been submitted to the European Parliament.
On the Ethiopian side, notwithstanding the Ethiopian government's transgression many Ethiopians are showing their support for the quick implementation of the ruling. The OLF, Oromo Liberation Front, a strong opposition group with a military wing operating inside Ethiopia, has endorsed the border ruling. The Oromo are the majority ethnic group in Ethiopia. Other groups representing smaller and diverse Ethiopian ethnic groups have also expressed their support for the ruling. Moreover, the very small turn-out at the two demonstrations held recently in Washington D.C. by Ethiopians who support the Ethiopian government is indicative of the growing unpopularity of the Ethiopian regime among Ethiopians and the opposition to the bellicosity that their government has been exhibiting. Washington DC is home to hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians.
Both Eritreans and Ethiopians realize that the Algiers Agreement entered into between Eritrea and Ethiopia in December 2000 is a legal and binding document brokered, guaranteed by and signed in the presence of such world heavy weights as the USA, UN, EU and AU. The breaching party is supposed to be sanctioned.
Both people have demonstrated their commitment for peaceful co-existence. The no-war, no-peace situation, currently prevalent in the region and which the Ethiopian government wants to maintain indefinitely, is hindering efforts to have a permanent peace and stability in the region. Only when peace and stability are secured can we undertake democratization and development steps fully and successfully. The defiant attitude of the Ethiopian leaders has become an obstacle in this journey and it must be overcome.
Furthermore, the Algiers agreement incorporates two other important issues the complete resolution of which is critical. These issues include the determination and final payment of claims for real as well as personal properties illegally taken from persons who despite their legal residency or citizenship rights had been deported to each other country during and after the war. The other issue pertains to conducting an investigation by an independent body into the causes of the conflict and determine the party at fault for causing the tragic war. A fair and just resolution of these issues will certainly help the healing process.
The Algiers agreement has now reached a very crucial stage which warrants and requires the show of a firm and principled stance on the part of the guarantors. No pre-conditions, subsequent or precedent, must be entertained at this stage. The opportunities for discovery of facts and rebuttal have long been gone. The stage is now ready for nothing less or more than the full implementation of the ruling. Justice is served only when it is applied.