EEBC has clear demarcation directives and implementation procedures
By: Sophia Tesfamariam
February 3, 2004

I read the Press Statement dated January 30, 2004 by Security Council President on the Secretary-General’s appointment of Lloyd Axworthy, former Foreign Minister of Canada as his Special Envoy for Eritrea-Ethiopia. This statement recalls the UN Security Council Press Release (UNSC SC/7972 AFR/807) dated January 7, that clearly:

• rejects an alternative mechanism for demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border

• reaffirms the final and binding Eritrea-Ethiopia BC decision

• calls for the expeditious implementation of the EEBC decision and demarcation of the border

• expresses disappointment on Ethiopia's rejection of the Border Commission's decision

• expresses disappointment with Ethiopia's refusal to fully cooperate with the Border Commission

The January 30 UNSC statement also clearly articulates Mr. Axworthy’s mandate:

“…to facilitate the implementation of the Algiers Agreement, the decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, and the relevant resolutions and decisions of the Security Council, and to encourage the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two nations”

Whatever the objectives and the motives are, this appointment of Lloyd Axworthy by Mr. Kofi Annan is in my opinion, ill advised, unnecessary, unjustifiable and a waste of valuable UN resources. It reminds me of the old saying “That’s throwing good money after bad”.

It is also unfair and illegal to subject the Government of Eritrea to this unnecessary, diversionary and expensive “shuttle diplomacy”, when it is the Tigrayan minority regime in Ethiopia that is violating the tenets of the Algiers Agreement, defying the final and binding internationally supported and endorsed arbitration, and refusing to implement the EEBC demarcation directives and orders.

• When as stipulated in the Algiers Agreement it is the sole responsibility of the EEBC to delineate and demarcate the Eritrea Ethiopia border
• When the EEBC in coordination with the parties has given clear demarcation directives, procedures and guidelines
• When the Algiers Agreement and the UNSC resolutions clearly state that the party that does not comply with the EEBC decision will be subject to appropriate punitive measures, including Chapter 7
• When Mr. Kofi Annan himself has been frequently complaining about the exorbitant costs of maintaining the 4200 United Nations’ Mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia (UNMEE) personnel

I do not understand why the Secretary General has decided to deploy Mr. Axworthy as a special envoy to Eritrea-Ethiopia.

This appointment would:

• Delay the expeditious demarcation of the border

• Further add financial stress to the already stretched UNMEE budget that should have been concluded by now.

• Send a wrong signal to the war mongering expansionist Tigrayan clique who will once again use innocent Ethiopians as cannon fodder and minesweepers, by squandering the country’s meager resources and the international tax payers monies.

• Allow Melles’ lobbyists, anonymous spin journalists, experts etc. to mislead and confuse the public in general, and the Ethiopian people in particular

As I have been consistently saying, what is needed is not the deployment of a special envoy but the strict enforcement of UNSC resolutions, expeditious implementation of the EEBC’s demarcation directives and orders, and effective appropriate punitive measures to be taken against the culprit, which is Melles’ belligerent and street smart regime in Ethiopia.

Final and binding arbitration is a legal matter that has to be enforced, while “normalization of diplomatic relations” is a bilateral matter and a sovereign right. Demarcation, not mediation, is a prerequisite for normalization.

The rule of law must prevail over the law of the jungle!