Ethiopia is being encouraged to derail the peace agreement by the world community's inaction
By Naizghi Zekarias
November 1, 2003

There are three mistakes being repeated by the international community when it comes to the current impasse relating to the  implementation of the border demarcation. The first is thinking that Ethiopia will negotiate in good faith. If that was the case, the more than one hundred thousand lives lost in the last war could have been saved and the international community could have saved hundreds of millions of dollars. On the one hand, the Ethiopian regime was begging the world for massive amount of food aid, and on the other the regime was waging a costly war on Eritrea. It got the food aid, which it indirectly used to cover for the war expenditure. Ethiopia believed that the world had given it a tacit approval of its war on the Eritrean people. Why? Because Ethiopia was wasting its money on tanks and landmines while the world community was sending it billions of dollars worth of food aid. Like now, the Ethiopian regime was convinced that the international community would never impose any sanctions on it no matter what it did or did not do. As it turned out, this regime never negotiated in good faith both during and after the war. What makes the international community that this regime will do any different this time around? The regime is expecting the outside world to keep sending massive food aid while it is bent on starving the Eritrean people by denying them the right to live in peace.

The second error the world community is making is allowing the Ethiopian regime to keep the peace process hostage indefinitely. The UN and the guarantors should never have let this regime postpone the demarcation once let alone three times and counting.

Now that the border demarcation has been postponed again, the Ethiopian regime must be feeling like a superpower that does not care about what others think, not that it can withstand any kind of pressure from the international community, but because it is convinced that the international community does not have the stomach to impose any meaningful sanction on it, as the Algiers peace agreement calls for.

The Algiers agreement was designed to avoid the kind of games the Ethiopian regime is playing at the moment. The TPLF regime has convinced itself that the consequence of failing to uphold the EEBC ruling was intended for Eritrea alone rather than both parties. The Ethiopian regime has a point in that it has gotten away with its intransigence so far. The regime is essentially telling the UNSC and the guarantors to put up with its arrogance or to shut up. The TPLF regime is daring them to implement the consequences of violation of the agreement.

The third mistake the international community keeps repeating is that when Ethiopia breaks the law, they sugar code it by saying "both parties". The Algiers peace agreement is not ambiguous. If either party violates the agreement, it has to bear the consequences, meaning the party has to be identified for what it does. The Ethiopian regime's violations are either being swept under the rug or are being modified to make them look like Eritrea has also been in violation by using phrases like both parties. Eritrea has yet to violate the peace agreement while Ethiopiaís violations are countless. Eritrea has yet to be commended for not violating the agreement while Ethiopia has yet to be rebuked for repeatedly derailing it. It is time the world spoke of the problem in terms of Ethiopian rather than both parties. It is time to put an end to the intransigence of the TPLF by implementing the agreement. It is time for the more than sixty thousand Eritrean civilians, who are languishing in make shift tents, to go home and start their lives again.