Ethiopia's Arrogance
By Sofia Tesfamariam
October 17, 2003

Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin and his delegation to the UN 58th General Assembly exposed their hypocrisy as they attempted to present the Tigrayan dominated Ethiopian regime as law abiding, human rights protecting, peace-loving victim of aggression to an international audience that is already fed up with the regime in Addis and its deceptive announcements and pronouncements, not to mention the never ending whining, lying, deception and begging that has become their identifying characteristic. Exposing the regimes’ hypocrisy here is what the Tigrayan FM said in his statement to the General Assembly on October 1st, 2003:

“Ethiopia, Mr. President, is committed to being always a peaceful country. We have always been second to none (Emphasis mine) in our commitment to principles of international - law…”

This statement will remain the diplomatic joke of the century! Leaving aside his self praising and insulting statement, for the FM of Ethiopia to talk about “principles of international law, is like Al Queda talking about fighting terrorism. Suffice it to mention his regime’s rejection of the UN Security Council endorsed final and binding decision of the independent Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission. Talking about being “second to none”, it is true that the regime in Addis is second to none other Saadam Hussein in violating international law, and practicing the rule of the jungle.

For those who follow the Ethiopian situation closely this pretentious and deceptive practice by the Tigrayan clique in Addis is not new. For example, in 1984 a prominent international journalist and writer Robert Kaplan in his book “Surrender or Starve”, expressed his frustration with “experts” at the State Department who under the pretext of “strategic ally” and “Ethiopia is a big country” etc. were looking the other way and remaining silent when successive Ethiopian regimes were violating human rights and international law.

But there were some people that voiced their concerns and Alan Keyes was one of them. Alan Keyes is on record in Kaplan’s book as saying:

“ If the Ethiopian government does away with tens of thousands of people nobody is interested, while if the South African government does away with thousands of people over a period of several years you can’t keep the media away” 

Robert Kaplan explained that “it was not just the media” that looked the other way at Ethiopia’s transgressions or that “human rights organizations that weren’t interested, but Western Governments as well”.

At a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Commission in February-March 1986, Alan Keyes confessed to Kaplan that he:

“… actually got the feeling that Europeans wanted it all swept under the rug. They didn’t even want to investigate… It came through pretty clearly that their attitude was, “What’s all the fuss about? This is the way the Ethiopian government has treated its people for centuries”

That was then, what about now? What is the UN Security Council going to do as Melles Zenawi’s apartheid regime in Ethiopia continues to violate international law, commits untold crimes against humanity, and threatens to once again use innocent Ethiopians as minesweepers and cannon fodder? Defying the UNSC endorsed arbitration decision, and propagating “might is right”, the minority regime in Addis is banking again on “experts” who are trying to put the issue “under the rug” once again.

It is no wonder then, encouraged by the inaction of the international community and the deliberate and confusing analysis such as “ Melles is in trouble”, “ Ethiopia is a big country with 60 million people”, “…if it is not handled properly, Ethiopia will disintegrate” etc. etc., being delivered by the regional “experts”, that the Tigrayan minority regime in Addis is rejecting international law and UNSC endorsed resolutions. This regime even had the audacity to state through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs on October 15th, 2003 that:

“…There is no use for Eritrea to continue wishing that the Security Council would impose sanctions on Ethiopia and waiting for the prospect of drawing vicarious satisfaction from that. That is unlikely to happen. Not because Eritrea is not big enough to have its way, but because the idea is too crazy and too unrealistic…”

Such statements reflect the minority regime’s underestimation of the international community’s resolve and seriousness, and it undermines the integrity and credibility of the UN Security Council and guarantors of the Algiers Agreement. Why would Ethiopia, a nation that depends on the international community to cover 65% of its national budget, act with such arrogance and defiance? It is important that the international community stops entertaining Melles’ posturing, diversionary and scare tactics and instead acts seriously by categorically rejecting the regime’s blackmail, deception and scare tactics and invoking Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

The Algiers Agreement spells out clearly what must be done by the UN Security Council if any of the two parties refuses to comply. Article 14 of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement states:

“…the OAU and the UN Commit themselves to guarantee the respect for this commitment of the parties…This guarantee shall be comprised of measures to be taken by the international community should one or both parties violate this commitment, including appropriate measures to be taken under Chapter 7 of the Charter of the United Nations by the Security Council”.

Not acting swiftly against Ethiopia’s defiance of international law will spawn more belligerent acts, which could spiral into another humanitarian disaster. The minority regime in Ethiopia has been and remains in material breach of several UNSC resolutions, bringing to question their efficacy and seriousness. The UNSC must act now. If the international community continues to allow Ethiopia’s belligerence and out right rejection of the Rule of Law, what would compel Ethiopia to stop acting with impunity? If a criminal is not stopped and punished for his crimes, what is going to deter him/her from continuing with the illegal act?

The Rule of Law must prevail over the rule of the Jungle!

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