Dialogue: Code Word for Eritrean Surrender
By: Berhe Habte-Giorgis
November 24, 2003

I hope the word "dialogue" is the swan song of the Ethiopian leaders. That is not much to expect after five-year exposure to their bags of tricks, lies, and duplicitous behavior becomes repulsive to the conscience and psyche. However, that is not to be. "Dialogue" is being used by the Ethiopian leadrs as a call for continued belligerence and hostility. The words and image of the Ethiopian Prime Minister on TV, after the signing of the Algiers Agreement still resonate. He said, "now (after the verdict of the Border Commission is delivered) it will be between Eritrea and the international community if it fails to abide by the decisions of the Border Commission". By rejecting to abide by the ruling of the Border Commission, the Ethiopian Prime Minister is committing the same offense that he admonished Eritrea against committing. The EEBC has reached the end of the line. It is the turn of the U.N and world community to prove their fairness and mettle, as did the EEBC. The situation calls for enforcement of a verdict reached after due process.

The call for dialogue by Ethiopia is another underhanded move to get reprieve from the Damocles sword hanging over its head. Dialogue is a code word primarily for Eritrea to relinquish all territories occupied by Ethiopia. In that sense it is a call for total surrender.

Eritrea endured the onslaught of three offensives defend its territorial integrity and its sovereignty. There is no reason in the world why Eritrea should accept such foolish proposal. Meles knows this too. In his own sneaky way he is trying to enlist the help of the AU (African Union), EU, and others. The demented British official in Addis Ababa even went one step further by putting the options as either war or acceptance of Ethiopia's demands. He may not know his own country's history, but the world plunged into war by following Chamberlain's acquiescence to Hitler's belligerence and aggression. Eritrea does not have Chamberlainian legacy.

The AU faces the test whether it will follow the footsteps of the decadent OAU or whether it will uphold new standards of conduct and ethos for itself.


Start of a dialogue before a demarcation will effectively and completely bring to an end the demarcation process. Ethiopia will drag the haggling for years, if not decades. If the situation permits, Ethiopia will use the border as a pretext to invade Eritrea. This is what Meles and Ethiopian political groups he aspires to get support from have in store for Eritrea.

The other consequence of the dialogue will be absolving Ethiopia of any responsibility for starting the war. Eritra has a good case to make, if the Algiers Agreement is fully implemented. Otherwise, Ethiopia will use the opportunity to absolve itself from any responsibiilty, and will do its best to hold Eritrea responsible.

The U.N. and world community failing to fulfill their obligations is something else. But, Eritrea willingly succumbing to continued Ethiopian aggression by other means is something else. Why let go when we have the enemy by .. where it hurts most? If anything, we have to squeeze them hard.


Continued Ethiopian belligerence against Eritrea in the name of gaining access to the sea, regaining lost territory, etc. is something Eritrea does not wish, but could very well be a reality it has to live with. I remember vividly an article by an Ethiopian writer in one of the magazines published in the U.S. at the time of the Eritrean referendum in 1993 that read, "The wound should not be allowed to heal, because a healed wound does not easily lend to bringing two severed parts of a body together".


To paraphrase Meles's statement, the show is between Ethiopia and the rest of the world, because Ethiopia has reneged on its international obligation. The day of judgment has come and passed, now it is time for execution of the sentence.