The ball is In the UN’s Court
By: Gebre Fessehazion
July 16, 2004

Nowadays, this is what every peace loving person would like to ask: Which court is the ball in? Two years have passed since the EBBC’s border ruling, and still the international community in general and the UN in particular did nothing to bring the two countries to common goal of ending the conflict. Another question is: Who should be demonstrating a genuine flexibility? Should be the UN, the US, the Addis regime or Eritrea? Actually, it is the UNSC that needs to demonstrate greater flexibility in order to put a pressure or to take action against Ethiopia. This is because the TPLF regime has been obstructing the peace process by rejecting the EEBC’s border ruling.

Since the beginning of the conflict Eritrea has been demonstrating increasingly flexibility and on the contrary, the Ethiopian regime has been rejecting the call of the international communities to be abide by the border ruling, not alone to show some decent or genuine feelings. But, there is no reason to wonder whether the Ethiopian regime will take such a flexible approach to cooperate with the boundary commission for the last stage of the peace process. No Eritrean has a faith that one day the Ethiopian regime would wake up and accept the border ruling and would be ready for the demarcation of the border. Unfortunately, unless the UN-with its upper hand- put a strong pressure, there would be no time for Addis Ababa regime to take a more imaginative, genuine flexible and proactive approach aimed at ending the border conflict.

Some strong diplomatic gesture by the UN, particularly by UNSC, could play a major role in changing Ethiopia’s policy of war-mongering. Such kind pressure would help Ethiopia to take a political courage and foresight to wave a peaceful hand rather marches towards war of hell.

On that point of view, it is an elemental principle of law that the UN-as well as the international community- must realize the ball is in their own court and should be ready to take a maximum pressure on the Ethiopian regime. In most cases, law and democratic rights are aligned and as far as the Ethiopia and Eritrean border issue is concerned, the Eritrean people are on the verge of being denied its human and democratic rights. Perhaps the biggest problem with respecting the border ruling, which gives a guarantee a future peace and development opportunity for the Eritrean people as well as the Ethiopian people, is lack of effective enforcement. This enforcement must come from the court room of UN’s Security Council.

Although the UNSC’s behaviour has been so far positive, it is nonetheless expected to decide whether the ultimate UN’s body put Ethiopia on the right track. Many Eritrean are sick and fed up with the countless statements issued by the UNSC and other international bodies that say “both parties should do this and do that, it is worth reminding the parties, both governments”. Such kind of approach is not helpful to the peace process. Therefore, the international community should avoid statements of bias. To demonstrate genuine feelings towards ending the border conflict, the UN and international community should target the one that has rejected the border ruling and is obstructing the peace process.

With out any hesitation, the ball is in the UNSC’s court and as most Eritreans believe, I am coming up with recommendations for putting more teeth into this diplomatic game. We hope the UNSC bears in mind that the international court’s reputation has already suffered because of the UN and international communities silence towards Ethiopia’s behaviour not to be abiding by the rule of law. If this is settled once, it would be a great benefit for both countries, and this can be supported by UN’s Secretary Mr. Kofie Annan put it; “ early conclusion of the peace process would inevitably allow both countries to reap the fruits of peace and concentrate on much-needed reconstruction and development.”

Therefore, the ball is in the New York’s court.

Gebre Fessehazion
The Netherlands