A report by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) implies Kofi Annan and Mr Axworthy are acting unlawfully.
By: Daniel Abraham
March 11, 2005

For over the last 12 months, under the disguise of “diplomacy”, Mr Axworthy has been working hard to undo a final and binding international border arbitration ruling by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC). By Mr Axworthy’s admission (see below), he was appointed to “develop” the ruling by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to appease Meles Zenawi, the defiant leader of Ethiopia who is refusing to abide by the ruling and since is threatening to start another war. Ethiopia is the only country in the world to refuse to abide by a final and binding international border arbitration. But the judges seem to be saying “no way José” to all of them.

According to the 16th Report of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC), covering the period from 15 December 2004 to 28 February 2005 (appended to Kofi Annan’s Progress Report dated 7 March 2005 which was posted yesterday on the UN website), the judges reiterate that the boundary line as determined by the Delimitation Decision of 13 April 2002 is final and binding and conduct inconsistent with this boundary line is unlawful.

EEBC also confirmed earlier report by the Eritrean Government that the Ethiopian Government rejected an invitation by the Commission to meet with both parties on 22 February 2005 to resuscitate the demarcation process which was obstructed by the Ethiopian Government. “This is the latest in a series of obstructive actions taken since the summer of 2002 and belies the frequently professed acceptance by Ethiopia of the Delimitation Decision” the report said. By this EEBC was referring to the announcement made by the Ethiopian Government a few hours after the publication of the final and binding Delimitation Decision on 13 April 2002 declaring Ethiopia’s acceptance of the decision (not that they were required to do so since acceptance of the Algiers Agreement per se is indeed acceptance of the verdict), expressing their gratitude to the Commission for delivering a “just” verdict and even called on the international community to “compel Eritrea to agree to a speedy demarcation”; and the
obstruction by Ethiopia that followed since then to prevent “speedy” demarcation taking place, by refusing to give access to the territory Ethiopia occupied by force and threatening to shoot down the EEBC helicopter, setting up illegal settlements (sadly funded by the taxpayer’s money of the west) inside territories confirmed as sovereign Eritrean territory, and finally, officially rejecting the internationally endorsed final and binding EEBC border decision on 19 September 2003 calling it null & void and asking UNSG Annan to appoint an envoy for alternative decision palatable to Ethiopia.

The most interesting part of the current EEBC report is the concluding paragraph which in effect stated “conduct inconsistent with this boundary line [as determined by the Delimitation Decision of 13 April 2002] is unlawful”. Suspiciously, this sentence has been omitted in the Kofi Annan Progress report. Could it because Annan is trying to concealing that he is acting unlawfully to change this line by the back door through his evil mission of Mr Axworthy?

It is now an open secret that Mr Axworthy was seeking to change this line unlawfully when he said to IRINnews on 2 January 2004:

“I am not sure it [the boundary commission] still has the capacity to provide that kind of representation that the secretary-general would like to have …

“..The key question there is how do you get to that stage where it [the boundary commission’s decision] can be implemented. …..The boundary commission's decision needs to be developed. …. I think there is a different kind of process that may be helpful.”

In the light of the current EEBC report, it is also clear that the southern boundary of the so called Temporary Security Zone is as unlawful as is the illegal settlement of Ethiopians north of the Delimitation line. In fact the entire peace mission is stuck in the area with an annual cost of $220 million (USD) only and only because Ethiopia is acting unlawfully. 70 thousand Eritrean living in make shift homes are unable to return to their original homes because Ethiopia is unlawfully occupied their homes which are clearly north of the Delimitation line. But the Secretary General is not interested to highlight these facts. Instead, he tries to blame Eritrea whenever he can, and protect Ethiopia from any form of criticism and he is still pursuing his evil mission of Mr Axworthy to unlawfully change the delimitation line.

If war breaks out, it will only and only be because of Ethiopia’s PM Meles Zenawi, UNSG Annan and his evil mission of Mr Axworthy are acting unlawfully. Must millions perish to save that faces of these men?

The border conflict between the two parties started when on 13 May 1998, Meles Zenawi, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, declared total war against Eritrea only 7 days into the border clash in Badme (under the pretext that the village belonged to Ethiopia). Although the Eritrean president passionately appealed for face to face dialogue and reiterated again and gain that the border problem could only be resolved through peaceful and legal means and even offered to hand any disputed territories to a third party pending a legal out come, Ethiopia pursued its war of invasion. Sadly, those who are now uttering dialogue, normalisation of relationship, etc sided with Ethiopia. Ethiopia rejected the call by the international communities for seize fire and used different stages of the peace process to buy time before launching consecutive rounds of offensives.

By end of the year 2000, 153,000 Ethiopians (although some reporters prefer to use the term “more than 70,000” or “more than 100,000” depending on the reaction from Ethiopia) and 19,000 Eritreans died plus hundreds of thousands of civilians on both sides were affected before a comprehensive peace agreement known as the Algiers Agreement was signed by the two parties (Eritrea and Ethiopia) as well as the witnesses and guarantors (which include UN, US, EU, AU ) for its implementation.

In accordance with the Algiers Agreement, a Hague based International Border Arbitration Commission known as Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC), with a sole mandate to deliver a final (with no appeal) and binding delimitation and demarcation decision strictly based on pertinent colonial treaties (1900, 1902 and 1908) and applicable international law, was appointed.

On 13 April 2002, EEBC published its “final and binding” verdict (confirming Badme, the village the reason why Ethiopia declared war, is a sovereign Eritrean territory).

[Here, although it is not the intention to go into details, it is however important to mention that immediately after the verdict, the Ethiopian Government also invited the Ethiopian people to come out and celebrate the “military and legal victory against Eritrea”. The following few weeks, Ethiopian Government Officials continued to give press conferences, briefings, interviews stating on how they deceived the EEBC (at one time, Mr Seifeslasie, an Ethiopian Minister, was actually lecturing his audience on how it is perfectly normal to deceive judges by deliberately making false statements) into awarding them areas that had “never been under their administration even for a single day”, by giving false names to rivers, areas, etc. At another time Meles and his Foreign Minister actually claimed that Ethiopia gained extra land (previously “not administered by Ethiopia”) stating the “exact” amount in Square Kilometres.

By contrast the Eritrean government reaction was very modest. In response to question put forward by the press as to whether Eritrea accepts the verdict, the Eritrean President said “when we signed the Algiers Agreement in 2000 we pre greed in advance to abide by the out come (“final and binding” verdict) whether it is in our favour or against” and the President also congratulated both the peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia “it is a victory for both people of Ethiopia and Eritrea alike, now that final and legal solution has been found to the border conflict”. ]

11 MARCH 2005