Immediate Action for Tangible Results!
By: Shaebia Staff
January 30, 2004

Diplomats have been shuttling in the Horn of Africa of late. Mr. Chris Mullin, Britain’s senior diplomat for Africa has visited Ethiopia and Eritrea. Mr. Donald Yamamoto, Deputy Secretary for African Affairs in the State Department met officials of the two countries. This was followed by the visit of Chancellor Schroeder to Ethiopia on his first leg of African tour, and lastly an ACP-EU delegation visited Eritrea.

That they all either discussed or brought up the Eritrea-Ethiopia border issue goes to show how much concerned they are about this grave and crucial matter in the region.

United States also expressed concern regarding the explosive situation in the Horn stating that such development would have “dire consequences” for the Horn of Africa.

Furthermore, Ms Glens Kinnock, who led the ACP-EU delegation to Eritrea noted that without prior demarcation of the boundary, any discussion or dialogue between Eritrea and Ethiopia will prove fruitless.

Such interest and concern is a proper step towards a sober appreciation of the situation at hand which in turn may lead to the adoption of more effective measures.

In all this diplomatic efforts and gestures of goodwill it seems that what should have been said two years back is being said now. Better late than never. However, the words should be translated into action if lasting peace is desired.

It is time to come out and call a spade a spade. Otherwise, this kind of approach if allowed to continue may be interpreted as appeasement.

Since the Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission’s ruling is final and binding, a fact no one can deny, and since it has been officially declared that any party that violated the decision would be sanctioned, then the international community has the obligation to impose sanction on Ethiopia for violating the EECB’s decision.

Knowing full well that Ethiopia is the sole violator of the decision, it looks strange that Eritrea should be addressed on equal terms with the violator to show its involvement in the implementation of the ruling.

It is therefore such act of indulgence that has emboldened Ethiopia to remain intransigent even to the point threatening Eritrea with war if things did not go its way.

Adam Ereli, spokesman of the State Department is reported to have said that “boundary decisions should be implemented fully and peacefully and without delay.”

Stern words indeed. But what if Ethiopia using its tactics of procrastination and prevarication tries to postpone the implementation indefinitely? What is the penalty of procrastination? Ethiopia should be apprised of the consequences that such contumacy entail.

That’s where Article 7 should be invoked for imposing comprehensive sanctions on Ethiopia which the Algiers Agreement calls for in the event of violation by one of the parties.
Ethiopia is not only rejecting the decision of the EEBC but seems also ready for another round of aggression. This is a fact beyond any shadow of doubt as can be verified by Ethiopia’s massive recruitment of soldiers.

The diplomatic shuttle including the official statements from USA all made reference or alluded to a possible renewed conflict in the Horn. But, why is it that the International community find it so much difficult to settle a simple border problem like that between Eritrea and Ethiopia which is waiting for a simple demarcation on the ground based on the EEBC decision?

Why appeasement was chosen when history is replete with instances of ruin and destruction that always follow appeasement made by sacrificing justice and the rule of law?

If the peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia are to be spared more suffering, then the only course of action left to be taken is to implement the border demarcation in accordance with the verdict of the EEBC.

It is with this in mind that in its press release issued on January 27/ 2004, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Eritrea expressed an earnest plea from the people and government of Eritrea to the effect that the US Government take further and appropriate measures so that the declared position will bring tangible results on the ground.