'Political Dialogue' is not a Prerequisite for Border Demarcation
By: Huriy Ghirmai
October 23, 2003

If you are a liar, you have a formidable adversary in truth. Like they say, you can bend and twist it but it cannot be hidden for long - truth, that is. That's the wisdom of our forefathers. Poor Meles Zenawi is just discovering that there is now no way out; every way he turns, truth rears its magnificent head to haunt him. The downfall of probably this most self-deluded government has never been more apparent than in the past month or two and the epitaph will have been written already; 'They lied and lied and then died'.

If club Woyane folds - and fold it shall - then Badme is not to blame. This Tigrayan Ethno-national regime, morally bankrupt and oblivious of the rest of Ethiopia, has been just about staying in power at the expense of the rest of the Ethiopian people for much too long. Its downfall therefore - which incidentally will be immense - will solely be the result of its persistent neglect of its responsibility to safeguard the well being of all Ethiopians. And by the by, its demise shall be a cause for celebration for all Ethiopians ans especially the ignored many who ail and starve in great numbers.

What goes around comes around. The minority regime in Addis Ababa has now gone to the wall and boy, how it kicks and bites. Every lie and swindle has come back to its rightful owners - and true to form, the Woyane never fails to disappoint. Its response: reject international law and while there, insult the UN, the US, EU and AU and anyone and anything that comes its way including the Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission [EEBC]

We - and the world I suppose - have so far been witnessing them acting with wanton petulance. Led by Meles Zenawi, they have decided to go ahead and play with fire. Trying to make sense of why they would do so, to my mind, is superfluous. But the implication of their behaviour is grave not only for the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia but also the Horn of Africa not to mention the dangerous precedence it would set with telling implications to the world at large.

A New Lie in the Making

Now there is a new lie brewing in the central lab of the Woyane fib factory. Unfortunately, the UN Security Council misguidedly, if not unscrupulously, seems to have given the Ethiopian government the basis for this latest ploy. Apparently, Meles - and this is not a joke - wishes to enter into some kind of 'political dialogue' with Eritrea; notwithstanding that not long ago he had professed he could not imagine his government forming normal relations with Eritrea when he said "a relation of good neighbourliness is unbelievable and not foreseeable with the incumbent government in Eritrea." Now, he is prepared to sit down and 'make peace even with the devil himself' or so he says. I wonder what changed.

In a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia on 21 October 2003, 'Ethiopia is prepared-- and it should be added, more than prepared-- to look into all ideas made in a constructive manner to help the two countries come out of the logjam they find themselves in.' Typical Woyane modus operandi - gross misrepresentation of facts right out of the old box of tricks. No one can deny that the Ethiopian government finds itself in a 'logjam' of its own making. It is also true that in its desperate attempt to get out of the pit it finds itself in, it has decided to jeopardise the Algiers Agreement as well as the peace and stability it would usher. But the ultimate truth is that the only logjam to speak of is Ethiopia's rejection of a 'final and binding' decision.

What is not true however is the assertion that Eritrea needs to come out of a 'logjam' because it has never been in one in the first place. As far as Eritrea is concerned, the situation is simple: Ethiopia has to accept the EEBC decision and both countries can get on with their respective national priorities.

The statement of the Ministry of Information of Ethiopia reduces the UN Security Council response to Meles' letter to a small section that deals with the Security Council's misled preoccupation regarding 'the lack of political dialogue' between the two countries. The MIE statement - by omitting what might constitute 99.9% of the essence of the letter - indicates that the Security Council letter is principally a suggestion for 'civilized behaviour from the two countries'; enter: the non-starter idea of 'political dialogue'.

Well, the most and only civilized thing to do now would be to accept the 'final and binding' EEBC decision that is enshrined in international law which all civilized nations have to adhere to. In this regard, only the Ethiopian government seems to have failed to behave in a civilized manner. But then, what is new?

Of course the world knows that the Security Council letter was primarily a call on Ethiopia to accept the EEBC decision as it is 'final and binding'. The bit about 'political dialogue' was just an unnecessary claptrap on the part of the Security Council. In other words, the UN Security Council's position is very clear: Ethiopia has no choice but to accept the EEBC ruling. The letter also reminds the Ethiopian government that it was in fact a signatory to the Algiers Agreement within the context of which the EEBC decision is firmly set. In line with the latest assertion of the EEBC, the 'logjam' Meles & Co. would like us to believe in is not something 'which cannot be cured by Ethiopia's compliance with its obligation under the Algiers Agreement, in particular its obligations to treat the Commission's delimitation determination as "final and binding'. There you have it - the single most important truth.

The UN has been speaking too softly but for the sake of justice and rule of law, we hope that it carries a big stick because it is high time that the Ethiopian government had a knock on the head to bring it back to its senses. The talk about a 'political dialogue' is ridiculous. The Ethiopian government may have ceased upon such a silly suggestion thinking it might be able to spin something out of it. The point is that the idea of a 'political dialogue' has no bearing whatsoever on the demarcation process.

Jut an Addendum

It is very important we bear in mind that the root cause of the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict was in fact Ehiopia's refusal to resolve any tension that might have existed between the two countries through political dialogue before it unleashed its war of aggression against Eritrea. The Woyane, intransigent and hostile, opted for violence and declared war against a faultless Eritrea in 1998. On the contrary, the Eritrean government was prepared to exhaust all possible political and diplomatic avenues in order to curb an escalation of the tension. Now, almost six years on, after much human suffering and material destruction, the Woyane want political dialogue?

Ethiopia's disinformation campaign aside, the irreversible fact is that the Algiers Agreement, the progenitor of the EEBC, was signed by both sides to prevent the kind of madness that Ethiopia is prone to. It was, as it were, carefully put together to resolve the conflict between the two countries diplomatically. The EEBC has made its decision and that in itself is a victory for the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia and its full implementation will signal a re-affirmation of the rule of law.

As for all Eritreans, how good it is to see that Eritrea has been and will always be on the right side of what is right. Pity that the minority regime in Ethiopia is preventing Ethiopia and its people from building a peaceful and stable relationship with a decent neighbouring country in Eritrea.