Ethiopia's FM Seyoum Mesfin's childish and hollow letter to UN Security
By: Sophia Tesfamariam
December 17, 2005
On 15 December 2005 when I read the "Letter from Seyoum Mesfin Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia to the President of the Security Council", on Walta Information Center (Ethiopian government website), the first thought that came to my mind was the Ethiopian people. I thought about the repeated embarrassment and shame the people of Ethiopia have had to endure because of statements and actions of the deceptive, defiant, flip-flopping, street smart, vote rigging genocidal leader of the Tigrayan minority regime Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
Equally embarrassing and shameful are the "Foreign Minister of Ethiopia for Life" Seyoum Mesfin's propensity for outright lies, misrepresentations, and most of all, his childish diplomatic reasoning. These two leaders of the Tigrayan clique in Addis have brought nothing but shame and disdain to the high offices they hold in the name of the people of Ethiopia.
In any case, I somehow managed to get through it all, the lies, and misrepresentations of the facts, and more. I felt compelled to expose the hollowness of Seyoum's logic and childish arguments. The readers will have to "forgive me" for ridiculing a "Foreign Minister of a big African country which is also the seat of the African Union", as I expose the bankruptcy and shallowness of his 9 December letter to the UN Security Council.
I. In the 9 December 2005 Letter to the Security Council the Tigrayan Foreign Minister of Ethiopia wrote:
"...Ethiopia has such a will and it has no interest in keeping the crisis between the two countries going. That is why we came up with the five-point peace proposal more than a year ago, which was welcomed by the international community, including by the Security Council..."
Mr. Seyoum Mesfin, just because the Security Council welcomed your "Five Point Peace Proposal" (5PPP) does not mean your regime has been absolved of its legal obligations to the unanimous Final and Binding arbitration decision of the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC). If you had taken Diplomacy 101, you would have known that those "welcome" statements by the Security Council are normal diplomatic parlance and courtesy responses given to any member States that present any recommendations, suggestions and proposals. Mr. Seyoum, don't be surprised and don't fall out of your hot seat with disappointment when you realize your "5PPP" was not taken seriously by the international community and that it has in fact been put in File #13, the trash can.
Let alone your "5PPP" of November 2004, even your letter of 9 December 2005 was not taken seriously by the international community, nor were they hoodwinked by your shallow arguments and lies. Suffice it to mention what John Bolton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said to the Press corps on 14 December 2005. Rejecting your regime's "5PPP" and politely ridiculing your 9 December 2005 Letter, and setting the record straight, Ambassador Bolton said:
"...one reason we're in this dilemma is that the government of Ethiopia has never complied with its obligations under the 2000 agreement and the 2002 border demarcation...the Council's unwillingness or inability to confront Ethiopia's three-year long refusal to adhere to the very agreement it made in 2000..."
In addition, I would also like to remind you what the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC), which has the sole mandate to demarcate the Eritrea Ethiopia border, had to say about your "5PPP" and your usage of words such as "crisis", "stalemate", "impasse" etc. etc. Rejecting your deceptive diplomatic gimmick and sophistry, in its 7 October 2003 letter to the Security Council, the EEBC said:
"...there is no "crisis", terminal or otherwise, which cannot be cured by Ethiopia's compliance with its obligation under the Algiers Agreement, in particular its obligations to treat the Commission's delimitation determination as "Final and Binding" (Article 4.15) and "to cooperate with the Commission, its experts and other staff in all respects during the process of ... demarcation" (Article 4.14)
Frustrated and disappointed by the intransigent behavior of your minority regime, on 24 February 2005, in its 16th Report to the Security Council the EEBC also said:
"Ethiopia is not prepared to allow demarcation to continue in the manner laid down in the Demarcation Directions and in accordance with the timeline set by the Commission. It now insists on prior "dialogue" but has rejected the opportunity for such "dialogue" within the framework of the demarcation process provided by the Commission's proposal to meet with the Parties on 22 February. This is the latest in a series of obstructive actions taken since the summer of 2002 and belies the frequently professed acceptance by Ethiopia of the Delimitation Decision...The Commission also observed as regards Badme village, which the Commission had found to lie on the Eritrean side of the boundary... to conclude that despite the words used by Ethiopia [in emphasizing that it was concerned only with the demarcation process] it is presenting its dissatisfaction with the boundary as substantively laid down in the delimitation decision in the form of procedural impediments to the demarcation process which it is not entitled to interpose..."
So you see Mr. Seyoum Mesfin, it is your minority regime's defiance of international law, violation of the Algiers Agreements, rejection of the Final and Binding decision of the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC), violation of several (over 17) UN Security Council resolutions and violation of the UN Charter by militarily occupying sovereign Eritrean territories, including Badme, that has created the current, potentially disastrous, situation in the Horn of Africa.
Since the "5PPP" has been rejected and is in the trash can and your regime's analysis of the "crisis" has been eloquently addressed and ridiculed by the EEBC, and since it is of your own making, I would advise you to stop disseminating deceptive and childish arguments once and for all. But I am not going to hold my breath on that, unfortunately, I know that you cannot stop; you are a pathological liar and your diplomatic skills are very limited and shortsighted.
II. Seyoum Mesfin, the Tigrayan Foreign Minister in his 9 December 2005 Letter to the Security Council wrote:
"...Ethiopia has made clear its eagerness to engage Eritrea in dialogue, which the Secretary-General and the Security Council have repeatedly urged..."
What a joke!
Mr. Seyoum Mesfin, while it is true that Secretary General Kofi Annan who has compromised his neutrality, credibility and mandate and has become a de facto advisor and lawyer to your Prime Minister, has been urging "dialogue" between Eritrea and Ethiopia, you know that the Security Council adopted the idea of "dialogue" simply to delay the demarcation of the border, to allow your Tigrayan clique to formulate a face saving mechanism. Your regime's and Kofi Annan's motive and interpretation of "dialogue" are simple and transparent; it is a futile attempt to create an "alternative mechanism". It is an attempt to sideline and hijack the mandate of the EEBC in order to alter, amend, change, revisit, and revise the Final and Binding 13 April 2002 decision so that you can get Badme.
No wonder your minority regime has evicted the EEBC from the area and prevented it from performing its demarcation activities. It is in light of your regime's persistent, annoying, hollow and deceptive requests for "dialogue", childish and shortsighted diplomatic maneuvers and futile attempts to sideline the EEBC that it invited the two parties to London to "dialogue" on the demarcation activities, an invitation your regime declined and rejected. That is why the EEBC, in its 16th Report to the Security Council on 24 February 2005 had no other choice but to expose your "dialogue" gimmick by saying:
"...Ethiopia is not prepared to allow demarcation to continue in the manner laid down in the Demarcation Directions and in accordance with the timeline set by the Commission. It now insists on prior "dialogue" but has rejected the opportunity for such "dialogue" within the framework of the demarcation process provided by the Commission's proposal to meet with the Parties on 22 February..."
That is also why US Ambassador John Bolton in the statements he gave to the Press corps on 15 December 2005 had no other choice but to call a spade a spade and expose your rejection of the EEBC decision and delaying tactics in the name of "dialogue", by saying:
"...the Security Council has been frustrated for three years by the government of Ethiopia's refusal to adhere to the binding arbitration of the Boundary Commission, and while we obviously have a difficult tactical situation at the moment facing UNMEE, what the Council should do is pivot to the larger issue of resolving the gridlock that has occurred for the last three years because of the unwillingness of Ethiopia to accept the Boundary Commission's decision..."
III. In his 9 December 2005 Letter to the Security Council, on the issue of the use of force and Ethiopian troops not being in the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ), the Tigrayan Foreign Minister of Ethiopia had the audacity to say the following:
"... Ethiopia has guaranteed that it will not resort to threats or use of force as a means of resolving the dispute between the two countries... Ethiopia does not have any troops in the Temporary Security Zone..."
Mr. Seyoum Mesfin, the people of Ethiopia are accustomed to your minority regime's lies and deceptions, but they did not expect you to write such a shallow and childish letter, whose contents could easily be verified, challenged, exposed and ridiculed. The people of Ethiopia understand the limitations in your diplomatic skills, but they would have expected your million dollars a month foreign advisors and lobbyists to do a better job of enhancing your diplomatic weaknesses and flaws.
You and the international community know that the Ethiopian forces are in the Temporary Security Zone and the Tigrayan regime is forcefully occupying and resettling ethnic Tigrayans on sovereign Eritrean territories. The Ethiopian forces and the Tigrayan settlers are not there by the expressed consent of the Eritrean government, they are there because the Tigrayan regime used lethal weapons and thousands of innocent Ethiopians, who were used as cannon fodder and minesweepers, to militarily occupy sovereign Eritrean territories. Therefore, unless you are planning to militarily occupy additional sovereign Eritrean territories, since your regime is already militarily occupying sovereign Eritrean territories, your statement that Ethiopia will not "resort to threats or use of force" is just another hollow and childish argument, and one that your regime is not entitled to cite.
As for your outright lie "Ethiopia does not have any troops in the Temporary Security Zone", I would like to remind you, that it is a matter of UN Security Council record that Ethiopian troops have never left some areas in the TSZ. Mr. absent-minded "Foreign Minister of Ethiopia for Life", allow me to refresh your memory with the following statement from the Secretary General's Special Envoy, Mr. Legwaila Joseph Legwaila. When your belligerent minority regime refused to vacate the TSZ, this is what Mr. Legwaila said on 18 April 2001in an IRIN interview:
"I told you that we have negotiated with Ethiopians insofar as that portion of Irob where we discovered they were sitting after we had verified the redeployment. We negotiated, and we discovered that it was a waste of time because they are not going to move out of there. They say they are where the 6 May 1998 line of administration was, and they are not going to move out, so what is the use of continuing to insist that they should move out when they are literally saying you dare move us out of it...Nobody wants to fight the Ethiopians out of that area and therefore we have told the President that this is a typical candidate for the Border Commission. That is the only solution, because to mortgage the creation of the TSZ, the progress of the peace process generally, to a resolution of the Irob issue would be tantamount to saying you don't want to create the TSZ, you don't want the peace process to go forward."
Then there is the issue of resettling ethnic Tigrayans on sovereign Eritrean territories which were forcefully occupied by your minority regime after the TSZ was established and after the EEBC delivered its Final and Binding decision on 13 April 2002. Here is the 7 July 2002 Order of the Commission on this issue:
“…Ethiopia shall forthwith arrange for the return to Ethiopian territory of those persons in Dembe Mengul who have gone there [Eritrea] from Ethiopia pursuant to an Ethiopian resettlement program since 13 April 2002…”
Lest you think it is only the EEBC that has recorded your intransigence, here is what the Secretary General Kofi Annan (your regime’s friend, confidante, advisor and lawyer) in his 30 August 2002 Report to the Security Council says about your illegal resettlement of Tigrayans on Eritrean territories in violation of several Security Council resolutions:
"...I fully support the Boundary Commission's decision that the parties should ensure that no population resettlement takes place across the delimitation line, and look forward to the return to Ethiopian territory of those persons who recently moved inside Eritrean territory..."
Of course, your minority regime did not comply with the EEBC's 7 July 2002 Order, nor did it comply with UN Security Council resolutions. Therefore, no matter how much you try to bury your head in the sand like an ostrich, your army is in the TSZ and you are militarily occupying sovereign Eritrean territories, including Badme.
Furthermore, you also know that the forceful occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories has been openly and defiantly admitted by your deceptive, street smart Tigrayan Prime Minister. In an IRIN interview on 29 October 2003 when asked about vacating Badme, Meles Zenawi, your cocky Prime Minister, stupidly responded by saying:
"As you know there is an Ethiopian army there [in Badme]. The only way it [taking possession] can be done is by removing the Ethiopian army..."
As you can see Mr. "Foreign Minister of Ethiopia for Life", your 9 December 2005 Letter to the Security Council is hollow, childish and meaningless.
Therefore, if you and the Tigrayan clique in Ethiopia are really interested in securing peace and stability in Eritrea, Ethiopia and the region, I have only one thing to say to you. Grow up. Stop lying to the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia and stop playing childish diplomatic games. Most importantly, stop embarrassing the people of Ethiopia and stop being the "Shame of Africa". The only way forward is for you and your Tigrayan clique in Addis, at Menelik's Palace, to respect the rule of law, international law, and allow the EEBC to return to the area so that it can perform its mandated duty of demarcating the Eritrean Ethiopian border with out any further delay and pre-conditions.
Speaking of respecting the rule of law and solving conflicts and disagreements through peaceful and legal means, your Tigrayan minority clique in Ethiopia that has violated international law and UN Security Council endorsed Agreements having rejected the Final and Binding decision of the EEBC, is today lecturing to the Ethiopian people on the importance of respecting the rule of law and solving conflicts and disagreements peacefully and legally.
However, your regime that has rigged and stolen of the Ethiopian people's votes, who also has massacred over 80 young and old, unarmed Ethiopian men, women and children in cold blood, who has detained over 40,000 people across Ethiopia, and who has incarcerated all the opposition leaders for embarrassingly defeating your Tigrayan minority clique at the ballot box, does not have the moral high ground to be preaching and lecturing about the rule of law and peaceful and legal resolution of disputes and disagreements.
If you and your minority clique had any respect for the rule of law and legal procedures, you would have allowed the demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border and you would have handed over power to those opposition leaders, overwhelmingly chosen by the Ethiopian people.
The rule of law must prevail over the law of the jungle!