The United Nations Security Council Must Impose Economic Sanctions on Ethiopia
By Ogbazgy Abbay Asmerom
November 8, 2003

The World Community should now know that Ethiopia is in material breach of a UN Resolution and the Peace Agreement it signed in Algiers, Algeria, in December 2000. Ethiopian vacillation, defiance, arrogance, and prevarication have wasted precious time of demarcation. The demarcation has been postponed several times because of Ethiopia’s defiance. Now, it is postponed indefinitely. Thus, the demarcation process is in jeopardy because of Ethiopia’s recalcitrant attitude. All of these must stop.

The UN must take an action against Ethiopia. The UN Security Council must call an emergency meeting to discuss what steps will be taken to enforce its Resolutions. If no action is taken against Ethiopia, the credibility of the international organization will be affected.

The world should know that as a leopard cannot change his spots, an Ethiopian also could not change his skin of deception. It is unfortunate the world community is dealing with Ethiopian leaders, who can be identified as crooks, liars, cheaters, deceitful and arrogant. There is no form of purity and honesty in the hearts and minds these leaders.

At this time, there is no other option for the Ethiopian government, but to accept the decision of the Border Commission. The issue is now between Ethiopia and the Security Council. The ball is in Ethiopia’s court. It is up to Ethiopia to know how to handle the ball, whether it is going to be in play or out of play. If the ball keeps on bouncing and there is no control, the game will be full of fouls. Ethiopia’s defiance attitude is like the struggle between David and Goliath. At this time, David is not in a position to win. There is no way Ethiopia is going to win. It is apparent, at this time, Ethiopia is gasping for its last breath.

The Security Council, The United States, The European Union, and the African Union, which are the guarantors of the Peace Agreement, should take an action against Ethiopia. They should not be intimidated by the hollow threats of “an Armageddon” that Ethiopia may believe it could bring upon the Horn of Africa.

The centuries old African wisdom of decency and respect for a tribunal decision should not be abrogated or be twisted because of Ethiopia’s foolhardy arrogance and miscalculation. Africa must not be insulted because of Ethiopia’s negative steps and miscalculations

Ethiopia’s audacity, mendacity, and sagacity should not be considered as real threats. These foolhardy steps are like the foolish mouse that tries to catch a cat. At the end, the mouse will be killed by the cat! Ethiopia’s threats are simple bluffs, which are designed to test the will of the International Community. When does a gourd, if it falls upon a stone, survive from breaking into pieces? Ethiopia is working on its own destruction.

Ethiopia should not be left alone to create more confusion, chaos, and instability in the Horn of Africa. It should not be allowed to keep behaving like a spoiled child and good- for- nothing brat. It should not be the bullying kid around the corner. We know it is a wretched land. It does not posses Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) to scare Eritrea! Ethiopia does not have oil revenues to be used as bargaining chips. Thus, there will not be any businesspersons, tycoons, or investors who would be flocking to Addis Abeba or Meqele to do business or make any profit. Ethiopia has nothing to offer, except instability, poverty, and inconvenience.

It is a historical fact that Ethiopia is the most wretched country in the world and the poorest of the poor! It is absurd and an anomaly on the art of diplomacy to let Ethiopia take the border demarcation as a hostage and make it a bargaining chip. This is a cheap propaganda ploy. The world has to wake up and know the difference in the behaviors exhibited by Eritrea and Ethiopia.

It is clear, Eritrea wants justice to be served. It wants the border to be demarcated without any delay. On the other hand, Ethiopia wants its defiant attitude to continue. If Ethiopia is let loose to behave like this and then keeps on running like a rabid dog, what will prevent other countries from behaving worse than this? The UN must enforce its own Resolution. There should not be any wavering on this.

Sever Economic Sanctions should be imposed upon Ethiopia. It is against international law to defy a final and binding decision issued by the Border Commission. Ethiopia needs to know that economic sanction will hurt to the bones and nerves of the government. A poor country, like Ethiopia, could not sustain any economic sanctions similar to the ones that were imposed upon South Africa, Iraq, and Libya for defying Security Council Resolutions. We know that Ethiopia does not have “Oil For Food Program” to survive.

The UN sanctions should focus on, but not limited to, the following:
1. Move the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) out of Addis Abeba
2. Move the African Union (AU) out of Addis Abeba
3. Ethiopian Airlines should not be allowed to fly out of Ethiopia
4. Ethiopian Diplomats should not be allowed to travel outside of the country
5. All military and economic assistance to Ethiopia should stop
6. Ethiopian products should not be sold anywhere in the world
7. Ethiopia should not be allowed to buy anything from the outside world
8. All tourists should be prevented from traveling to Ethiopia
9. There should not be any international exchange programs of any kind
10. Ethiopia should be expelled from the AU, UN, and other International Organizations
11. Military force must be used to evict Ethiopian forces from all occupied Eritrean territories
12. All of Ethiopia’s assets, if there are any and wherever they are, must be frozen and be seized
13. There should not be any relief or forgiveness on the billions of dollars that Ethiopia must pay to creditors and investors
14. There must be a blockade ordered on Ethiopia, especially by land, air, and sea
15. The Sanctions to be imposed upon Ethiopia must not be lifted until the border is fully and completely demarcated and Ethiopia renounces its war of aggression against Eritrea
16. The Sanctions to be imposed upon Ethiopia must be multifaceted: financial, trade, cultural, and military
17. There should not be any loop holes on the Sanction, where any member state would violate them
18. If any country violates the provisions of the sanctions, it must bear the consequences of the violations
19. Ethiopia must be told that it will bear all of the responsibilities of any war damages in Eritrea
20. Compensation must be attached to the provisions of sanctions

We know what had happened to Iraq when it defied UN resolutions. Today, unfortunately, Iraq is in a bad situation. Its arrogance and defiance to UN Resolutions brought havoc and destruction. It will take decades to reconstruct the devastated infrastructure of the nation. We also know what happened to Libya. Of course, very recently, Libya decided to comply. Out of political and economic expediency, Libya has agreed to pay compensations to the victims of the Lockerbie disaster of 1988. We know economic sanctions do hurt. Does Ethiopia not understand the ramifications of sanctions?

We also know, even though the African National Congress (ANC) was very resolute in its struggle against apartheid and the minority government of South Africa, it was the UN imposed economic sanctions that brought the racist government of South Africa to its knees. The white and minority government could not survive. It collapsed.

Today, apartheid is history in South Africa. Hence, the economic sanctions imposed by the UN and U.S. did bite the South African government and they were effective in bringing some change. Nelson Mandela was released from prison. He became the first black president in the history of South Africa. Majority rule became the norm in South Africa. Thus, similarly, Ethiopia’s fate is hanging on the balance. The writing is on the wall! Woe unto those who do not hearken when the trumpet sounds!

The Ethiopian government needs to learn a lesson. It should know that there is a consequence for defying an international law. There will be a price to be paid! There will be a time that the patience of the UN will grow thinner. Ethiopia will reap what it has sown. The reality is clear. The Ethiopian economy and infrastructure will face a meltdown and cannot survive for a day! Ethiopia has not the means to feed it self. It is the beggar nation of the world!

The donor countries and humanitarian agencies should not be disarmed by any false charming means or tactics used by the leaders of Ethiopia. Donors need to be smarter, wiser and should know where their monies should go. It is time for donor nations and the UN to wake up from their deepest slumber and need to see the evil and deceitful ways of the Ethiopian government and its leaders.

The Ethiopian government is cheating the donors. It seems to preach peaceful ways of resolving the border conflict. That is not the case. It is full of deception, arrogance, and lawlessness. It is biting the hands that continuously feed it. It wants to have its cake and eat it at the same time! This should not happen!

Ethiopia needs to take heed. It is playing with fire and brimstone. Its back is against the wall. It is cornered! There is no way out of this quagmire, except to accept the ruling of the Border Commission. Any foolish move it makes will bring havoc and disaster upon the present regime and upon the poor and wretched people of the land. Ethiopia should not foolishly and continuously bite the hands that feed it. A beggar nation should not contemplate on loosing the alms and crumbs that come from the pockets of the merciful donors. If it continues being an irritant, it will loose its resources. When this happens, it will be the end of Ethiopia’s existence as a nation.

We know Ethiopia needs help to fight against poverty, underdevelopment, diseases, illiteracy, and HIV/AIDS. So far, with humanitarian and economic assistance from the world community, it has made some progress in fighting against the scourges of its backwardness. However, it is a historical damnation to accept the claim that “Ethiopia is a nation that possesses 3,000 years of existence and civilization” and yet cannot eliminate the myriads of problems, such as poverty, diseases, and miseries, which have been affecting the people for centuries.

Based on what is going on inside the country, Ethiopia is a cursed nation. It does not have leaders with vision and the foresight to lead the 60 million inhabitants out of the abyss of poverty and backwardness. Ethiopia is well- known to many people around the world as the place where famine and starvation play their roles, year in and year out! It is a known fact also that some Ethiopians feel ashamed to call themselves Ethiopians! What a pity! What a loss of identity!

It is clear, the economy of Ethiopia, which is dependent on foreign aid, cannot last for a few days without collapsing and falling down into the bottomless pit. When economic sanctions are imposed and when they begin to bite, the present rulers will fight among themselves. Ethiopia will disintegrate. Tigray will not exist. Oromia will be independent. Somalia will get peace. The Amhara will be free. Thus, Ethiopia will reap the “sins of the fathers”. Unfortunately, at that time, Ethiopia will be another Yugoslavia and the former Soviet Union. We know the two entities do not exist any more!

When Ethiopia ceases to exist, Eritrea will not worry about any evil empire from the south that keeps on looking to the north and covets the natural resources of the Red Sea. That will be a day of redemption for Eritrea! At that time, peace will prevail in the Horn of Africa. Intimidation will disappear. Coercion will stop. Ethiopia will cease to be the whirlwind of the area. At last, peace will come to the region.

Since the Border Commission has pulled out of the demarcation process indefinitely, the World Community needs to stand by its decision and punish Ethiopia for its arrogance, foolishness, deception, and intransigence. The UN, European Union, AU, and the USA should speak with one voice. There should not be any double standard to be manufactured to please Ethiopia. There should not be any form of appeasement to be given to Ethiopia. After all, Ethiopia has nothing to offer to any nation in the whole world where there would be a temptation to contemplate of an appeasement.

It is comforting to note that the Congress of the United States of America is in the right track and is planning to let Ethiopia know that its defiant behavior will not be tolerated. There is a pending Bill, H.R. 2760, in the House of Representatives. The Bill’s authors, some of whom are: Mr. Donald Payne (D- NJ), Mr. Edward Royce (R-CA), Mr. Tom Lantos (D-CA), and Mr. Steve Chabot (R-OH) have stated that the main issue is that an economic sanction must be imposed on the guilty party or the one that has refused to accept the ruling of the Border Decision.

Eritreans in the U.S., who are voting citizens, are encouraging their local representatives to support and vote for the passage of the Bill. It is almost certain the Bill will pass by a wide margin and majority vote. It will be the law of the land. The U.S. government will impose Economic Sanctions on Ethiopia.

Conversely, some Tigrayans and their Amhara cohorts and allies are doing the opposite. They are frantically trying to persuade the lawmakers in Congress not to vote for the passage of the Bill. This is too late! Ethiopia has found it self in a quagmire. It is digging its own grave!

Now, it is time for the UN, EU, and AU to flex their muscles and show Ethiopia that it cannot continue to play with the process of no peace and no demarcation episodes. In fact, the AU, which has its Headquarters in Addis Abeba, must be seized by the urgency of the matter and should stand up for justice and openly speak against Ethiopia. The AU should not remain docile! The AU must act for the peace and security of the continent. Ethiopia should not be considered as the “strongest element” in the region. It is only a paper tiger! The AU must wake up and be counted!

The European Union, which has many development programs in Ethiopia, must think of suspending all of the projects and tell Ethiopia to accept the verdict of the Border Commission. The EU must tell Ethiopia its development programs will not continue until it accepts the verdict of the Decision. Thus, Ethiopia must know that violating an international law has its consequences. Punishment must be administered now.
Very recently, some mass media outlets have started to understand Ethiopia’s recalcitrant position. On November 4, 2003, The Boston Globe wrote a heart warming editorial piece concerning the Demarcation process. The paper said:
“Ethiopia must give up Badme if the rest of the boundary is to be demarcated and the two nations begin to heal their rift”. This kind of statement needs to be written repeatedly by many newspapers and people who love justice to flourish in the world.

Ethiopia needs to get the message very clearly. The Boston Globe added: “The United Nations, the United States, and the European Union need to send emissaries to Meles to convince him the international community is serious about this”. Ethiopia needs friends to tell it as it should be told. No one should be afraid of speaking the truth. It is time to call a spade a spade. At the end, the paper concluded: “Letting the work of the boundary commission go for naught could allow this conflict to fester into another war and would represent a dire precedent for border disputes around the world.”

It is clear, Ethiopia has defied the world community, and it has to know the consequences of being an obstinate member state of the UN and at the same time being a nuisance. Thus, imposing severe economic Sanctions and Embargo should be the remedies to the impasse of the Border Demarcation crisis.

If the border is not going to be demarcated as outlined by the Border Commission, what is the use of having 4,200 UN Peace Keeping Forces stationed in the Temporary Security Zone between Eritrea and Ethiopia? There is no peace to keep. Ethiopia is not for peace. It is itching for war. The UN Security Council must be seized by the matter and must do something to curb the appetite of Ethiopia. UN funds must not be squandered because of Ethiopia’s recalcitrant attitude.

Any Eritrean who claims to have a stake in the demarcation of the border should remain vigilant against any foolish moves that Ethiopia may take. It is conceivable, the government of the Weyanies, which is dominated by the minority ethnic groups from Tigray, the northern province of Ethiopia, may declare another war on Eritrea and will use other ethnic groups in Ethiopia as cannon fodders. Every step taken by the Weyanies must be scrutinized and be monitored by all peace-loving Eritreans. Nevertheless, it must be known to the whole world, Eritrea has the capacity and the means to defend its territorial integrity. If “push comes to shove,” Eritrea will stand up and will fight back to get rid of the enemies of peace.

The government of Eritrea is working on several development projects that will alleviate the economic hardships of the people. Its goal is to eliminate poverty by the year 2013. The Eritrean government is marching forward to bring a total transformation to the social and economic fabric of the Eritrean society. On this front, there is no turning back!

Thus, Eritrea knows peace is the prerequisite for the success of the planned projects. When there is peace, planned projects will continue without any hindrance. When peace reigns in the Horn of Africa, Eritrea will prosper and its people will enjoy the fruits of their labor!

We believed, in 1991, peace had finally come to Eritrea. However, it was shot-lived and was spoiled by Ethiopia. The Weyanies of Tigray purposely planned to destabilize Eritrea and in 1998 declared war on Eritrea.

The world community needs to know it was for peace that the Eritreans, without outside help, fought for four decades against successive Ethiopian rulers and became free. Thus, The Eritreans know they do need peace more than any people in the world do.

Every Eritrean knows what it means to live without peace. Unfortunately, because of Ethiopia’s bellicose attitude, peace has been very illusive to the Eritreans. Nevertheless, they will not lose hope and faith. They will continue to work for a long-lasting peace. Eritrea knows peace is better than war.

Therefore, Eritrea does not want to see the rulers of Ethiopia and Tigray to be the stumbling bocks on its road to recovery, modernity, and prosperity.