An Open Letter to UNMEE
By: Asmerom Kidane
May 10, 2004

UNMEE Public Information Officer
UNMEE, Asmara

Dear Sir/Madam;

On May 6,, the official website of the Ministry of Information of the State of Eritrea put out a release wherein the piece described the government's misgivings regarding some "extra curricular activities" of UNMEE mission in the State of Eritrea. I also read the response from the UNMEE which was released on May 7, 2004. As a sovereign State, the Eritrean government has the basic right and responsibility to express its misgivings regarding UNMEE or other regional and International Organization. This is more so when these "behind the scene activities" try to compromise fundamental issues of national security.

Naturally, one expects UNMEE officials to give serious consideration to the Eritrean government's legitimate concerns. As one of the UN peace keeping forces, it is also in the best interest UNMEE to handle the matter with care and cooperate with the host government to resolve these outstanding issues.

To my surprise I found the response from the UNMEE officials to be rather crude and clearly lacked the diplomatic acumen that is supposed to be characteristic of most UN diplomats. The response was replete with poor choice of words and bordered towards the highest form of arrogance.

On the one hand, your response DID NOT DENY ANY OF THE ALLEGATIONS contained in the Eritrean government's press release. On the other hand, the language you employed in your rejoinder clearly demonstrates that you harbor 'below average regards" towards the government and people of Eritrea.

The part of your press release that shocked me most was when you tried to compare the UNMEE as a guest and the Eritrean government as a host as though we are dealing within a household setting. The relation is not as simplistic as this. We are dealing with a relation between a Sovereign State and a UN agency or Mission. You poor analogy led you to make the worst blunder when you stated the following..."When a guest is no longer welcome in a house, it is the prerogative of the host to decide what to do next." This statement clearly demonstrates that there are anti peace elements within your ranks.

Sure enough you need to "clean up your activities".

With highest regards,
May 8, 2004

Asmerom Kidane
Visiting Professor of Econmetrics
University of Dar-es-Salaam