The United Nation Secretary General Kofi Anan recent trip to Eritrea and Ethiopia could provide a platform for peace and international rule of law in the Horn of Africa. The Horn has suffered over six decades of political and civil violence thus causing significant loss in humanitarian and economics material.
Today, the Horn member states have made little significant progress in security and economic development for their citizens and the region. According to the UN development index, the people in the Horn currently live under the poverty line. The root cause of the economic stagnation has been political instability and border conflicts. The central state of the instability and conflicts contribution in the region is Ethiopia. Over the last eight years, Ethiopia has been involved in border conflicts with Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan. Ethiopia’s lack of security and domestic political instability is spreading in the region and is fueling instability in neighboring states.
Analysts say that the instability of Ethiopia has been an embarrassment for the United Nation. The UN central base for Africa is in Ethiopia. If the UN cannot provide stability in the hosting state, how could the UN facilitate to solve the political instability in the Horn region? Also, people in the region have lost or have very low confidence in the international body.
Anan’s recent trip will provide the international body a chance to rejuvenate confidence in international law and security for the people in the Horn. Anan will meet with his envoy for Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC) mission to jump start the border demarcation. EEBC has nearly $300 million annual budget since inception in May 2000. Ethiopia has delayed the demarcation after signing the demarcation agreement. Ethiopia's rejection of the agreement is in violation of international law. The regime has taken the international community hostage by playing the famine political card and delaying the demarcation border.
Anan has an opportunity to influence the Ethiopian regime in starting the border demarcation or otherwise face the consequences of its action to not respect international law. The consequence should include freezing the $1 billion annual budget support the Ethiopian regime has been receiving from the international community; mostly from the United States. The UN must stand firm to the international donors and United States in enforcing Security Council resolution to freeze Ethiopian aide funds. If Anan is not able to achieve progress from his meeting with Ethiopia, his diplomacy shuttle will be seen by analysts as short on effective diplomacy but long on appeasement diplomacy. This will be perceived as another appeasement pill medical subscription re-fill into the unstable Ethiopian regime’s life.
Anan is facing a crucial meeting with the United Nation Security Council in July 2004. In order to show any sort of success from his trip to Ethiopia, he will have to convince the Ethiopian regime to execute its treaty and international law agreements needed to jump start the border demarcation. In his report, Anan will have to explain to the international body the current status of the EEBC mission, the key successes, deficits and reasons, status of demarcation targets, and sustainable budget. With the situation in the Darfur region of Sudan, the demand for more UN peace keeping mission has over stretched the international body’s budget. The Security Council must seek to expedite the demarcation process or otherwise the body will lose patience with the EEMC mission.
What will Anan inform the Security Council in the July report? Will he be able to show some progress in the demarcation process? Or will Anan seek the approval to subscribe Ethiopia the appeasement pill to support the regime’s life expectancy. If Anan recommends the latter, he will list EEBC on his CV as one of his many failures (Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, Bosnia, and etc) during his three decades tenure at the UN. However, if Anan stands for the international rule of law and moral jurisdiction he will have a chance to show limited success.
Kofi Anan, when will you stand firm in meeting your moral and legal fiducial responsibility to uphold international law? Do the right thing by enforcing the law on the rouge Ethiopian regime. In your report to the Security Council you are held to accurately report the current status on the ground as is and not to undermine the truth by playing diplomatic language and balance. No more delaying the truth in your report. The Security Council and the international community deserve to know the truth. Expedite the demarcation process and show the courage and vision of an efficient and effective UN body.