Dangling and Limping on the Scale of Justice -Part I-
By: Ogbazgy Abbay Asmerom
March 27, 2004

 -- How long halt ye between two opinions? -- -- Elijah -

Note: This essay has four parts. They will be issued at intervals and consecutively.

Part I

For so long the UN Secretary General (hereinafter UNSG) and The UN Security Council (hereinafter UNSC) have been silent on the justice that Eritrea was calling for the last six years. The April 12, 2002 Decision of the Eritrea- Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC) has not been implemented. It is in limbo. The Decision was an international accord and a treaty that should have been implemented and respected without any delay.

It is a logical fact that if a treaty is not accepted, respected, and implemented by the parties involved and affected, there is no respect for those who negotiated it and promised to carry it out. Thus, the silence of the guarantors has created an atmosphere of uncertainty and indecision. This only shows the guarantors did not keep their promise.

Mr. Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the UN, the 15 members of the UNSC, the Organization of African Union, and the European Union are to be blamed for the delayed demarcation process of the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia. For how long are these bodies going to dangle and limp on the scale of Justice? Whose interests are they serving? Where is the value of international law and collective security?

Hypocrisy is the highest form of political deception. When a person talks about peace, justice, and order, and yet he is not living up to those tenets of decency, we can call that person a shining tomb or a painted sepulcher. Hence, there is no form of honesty and decency on the one who acts on a level of deception and intrigues. The UNSG and the members of the UNSC are not faultless people. They have made several mistakes on the implementation of the demarcation of the border. Hence, they should be held accountable and responsible for what is going on in Eritrea and Ethiopia.

On March 12, 2004, in its latest Resolution, Number 1531, the UNSC decided to extend the mandate of UNMEE for six months. The extension is not a bad thing. It is a good idea. It is a fact of life and a reality that the Mission of the Peace Keeping Force is not over. The Border between Eritrea and Ethiopia is not demarcated. Thus, a Peace Keeping Force is needed. However, it is unfortunate; the UN is spending millions of dollars to maintain UNMEE, simply because of Ethiopia's refusal to abide by the decision of the Border Commission.

Eritrea is grateful for the generous contributions of the countries, which have decided to send troops on a yearly basis. Eritrea is also grateful to the individual soldiers who have volunteered to serve in the frontline areas and in the Temporary Security Zone. It is a noble idea to work for peace. By this time, many of those who have served in Eritrea have been influenced by the Eritrean culture and way of life. In many ways, the troops have learned something about Eritrea. The Eritreans have also learned some things about the countries of the troops.

The UNSC, in its vague Resolution, expressed some concerns and disappointments about Ethiopia's recalcitrant attitude and its refusal to accept the verdict of The Border Commission. It continues to say both countries must accept the Decision of the Boundary Commission. The words of the Security Council are very weak. They are very hollow and shallow. They do not mean a thing. The Security Council should have shown its anger, outrage, and indignation on Ethiopia. It is Ethiopia that has refused to accept the decision. So far, the UNSC did not give any stern warning to Ethiopia. It did not give any timeline for the demarcation of the border. It continues to be dangling and limping on the scale of justice. Foolishly, it tried to equate Eritrea's position to the same acts of defiance being committed by Ethiopia.

As part of its Resolution, the UNSC issued a flawed statement. It stated, "The Security Council supports the initiative of the Secretary-General to exercise his good offices by appointing a Special Envoy, in order to facilitate the implementation of the Algiers Agreements, the decision of the Boundary Commission, and the relevant resolutions and decisions of the Security Council, and to encourage the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and emphasizes that this appointment does not constitute an alternative mechanism."

The Algiers accord of 2000 does not have any clause to show that an Envoy of the Secretary General should be appointed to mediate between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Out of his abnormal diplomatic way, the UNSG, against the advice of Isaias Afwerki, the president of Eritrea, has appointed Lloyd Axworthy of Canada, to be his personal envy to Eritrea and Ethiopia. The president of Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki, has written several letters to the Secretary General and admonished him not to meddle in the demarcation process.

President Isaias told Mr. Kofi Anan that it is only the implementation of the demarcation that needs to be accomplished. There is no need for a mediator or an envoy. The UNSG did not listen. He remained arrogant and defiant, as the prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi. The steps taken by the UNSG can be compared to the foolish way of putting "the cart before the horse." Instead of applying pressure on Ethiopia and ordering it to comply with the final and binding decision, the UNSG and UNSC wanted Eritrea to enter into a dialogue with Ethiopia, negotiate the border demarcation, and then normalize its relations. The UNSG and UNSC do not have the legal and moral authority to alter the final and binding decision. In fact, they have the moral and legal obligation to uphold the decision of the Border Commission.

Eritrea does not recognize the appointment of the envoy. In fact, it looks at the appointment with jaundiced eyes. The envoy is the creation of the Secretary General. The Special Envoy appointed by the Secretary General can be likened to a "wolf in a sheep's skin". The appointment confirms Ethiopia's wishes. The Secretary-General has taken sides with the Ethiopians. It is absurd for the UNSC to accept the useless recommendations written, edited, filtered, and doctored by the UNSG. For how long is the UNSC going to limp on both legs? For how long is the UNSC going to delay the justice Eritrea is seeking!

The Canadian envoy is quoted as saying, "The Decision of the Border Commission needs to be developed." Developed for what? It is a binding and lasting decision. It does not need any change or modification. It only needs to be implemented. That is what the two parties agreed to do. That is what the guarantors have witnessed. Thus, there is no need to change horses in midstream.

To be continued .......