Ethiopia’s Latest Gimmick on the Final and Binding EEBC Decision
By: Sophia Tesfamariam
November 30, 2004

Meles Zenawi, the deceptive street-smart, flip-flopping leader of the Tigrayan minority regime in Ethiopia who has:

·        Officially and openly violated the Algiers Agreements that he personally willingly signed on 12 December 2000 in Algeria

·        Rejected the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission's (EEBC) final and binding verdict of 13 April 2002

·        Refused to abide by the Border Commission's demarcation directives, orders and procedures.

·        Defied international law and numerous UN Security Council resolutions

While occupying sovereign Eritrean territories by force, has now come up with another time-buying political and diplomatic gimmick. This latest gimmick by Meles Zenawi is called “The New Ethio-Eritrean Peace Initiative”. It is another ploy to present himself and his minority regime as law abiding, peace loving, and dialogue-seeking bunch.

It is not my intention to analyze his deceptive, sugar coated “proposal” line by line, but I would like to highlight Meles’ deceptive diplomatic games and misrepresentations of the facts.




“Resolve the dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea only and only through peaceful means”


Mr. Meles Zenawi, the border dispute has already been resolved through legal arbitration on 13 April 2002. What remains is your cooperation and compliance with the implementation of the final and binding legal verdict. While it is you that is, refusing to allow the EEBC from fulfilling its mandate of demarcating the border, obstructing justice and holding peace hostage, and while it is you that is occupying sovereign Eritrean territories including Badme, by military force, you do not have the moral authority to talk about resolving disputes by peaceful means.


Mr. Meles, stop flip-flopping. Stop saying one thing today and something different the day after. Either you unconditionally accept the final and binding EEBC decision and allow for the speedy demarcation of the border or shut up! Get over itand move on Mr. Prime Minister, so that the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia can better utilize their meager resources to combat poverty.




“Resolve the Root Causes of the Conflict Through Dialogue With the View to Normalizing Relations Between the Two Countries”


Mr. Meles, you know damn well that the root cause of the conflict is your Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front’s (TPLF) expansionist attitude and your agenda of creating a Greater Tigray. In 1997, your TPLF regime produced the Greater Tigray map incorporating swatches of sovereign Eritrean territories. This map also took chunks of land from the Gondar and Wollo provinces of Ethiopia. Furthermore, before your military adventure in 1998 in Badme, your Tigrayan clique, using military force, had aggressively dismantled the then existing Eritrea administration in Adi Murug. 


Unless Meles Zenawi has selective amnesia, he knows that finding the root cause and origin of the conflict has been addressed in Article 3 of the Algiers Peace Agreement which states:


a. In order to determine the origins of the conflict, an investigation will be carried out on the incidents of 6 May 1998 and on any other incident prior to that date which could have contributed to a misunderstanding between the parties regarding their common border, including the incidents of July and August 1997.


b. The investigation will be carried out by an independent, impartial body appointed by the Secretary General of the OAU, in consultation with the Secretary General of the United Nations and the two parties.


c. The independent body will endeavor to submit its report to the Secretary General of the OAU in a timely fashion


Given the fact that the OAU (AU) Commission has not yet completed its investigations and has not yet reported its findings to the appropriate body, the TPLF regime's attempt to present Eritrea as the culprit is another deceitful gimmick. However, since the disputed territory Badme has been found to be unequivocally sovereign Eritrean territory, it is a matter of common sense and only logical to conclude that the Tigrayan minority regime is the culprit, and Eritrea the victim.


As to the normalization of relations between the two countries, once the border is demarcated in accordance with the final and binding EEBC decision and the EEBC demarcation directives, orders and procedures, as an Eritrean American who has been following the developments closely and as a person who wishes the two people’s nothing but the best, I can say with utmost confidence that the Government of Eritrea will be willing to discuss any issues that will be of mutual benefit to the people in both Eritrea and Ethiopia.


So Mr. Meles Zenawi, stop playing games, move on and allow the EEBC to demarcate the border without any more pre-conditions.




Ethiopia Accepts, in Principle, the Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission Decision”


By repeating the two words “in Principle” throughout your presentation, you are implying that the decision is open for discussion. You are in fact avoiding the final and binding nature of the EEBC decision. In spite of you using the words “In Principle” ten times in your presentation, nowhere do you acknowledge the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission as having the sole mandate to demarcate the Eritrea Ethiopia border in accordance with the April 13, 2002 final and binding verdict. Nowhere in your presentation do you say that you are now ready to abide by the EEBC’s demarcation directives, orders and procedures. Nowhere in your presentation do you acknowledge that Badme, the casus belli for the conflict is indeed sovereign Eritrean territory and that you will pull your military forces out of Badme.


In fact, you have clearly stated that you want dialogue and the process will be “give and take”. You even provided an elaboration on what you meant by the “give and take” exercise. You said “we have been awarded land that had been administered by Eritrea and Eritrea has been awarded land that had been administered by Ethiopia”. Therefore, it is crystal clear to any rational person that you are once again entertaining and pushing for an amendment and a revisit of the final and binding EEBC decision. This is tantamount to rejecting the EEBC decision.


This deceptive statement by Meles and the use of the two words “in Principle” is borrowed from different quarters. It should be re-called that it was Chris Mullin, Britain's Minister for Africa, who while on his visit to Ethiopia on 19 January 2004 said:


“…We are looking to Ethiopia to accept the border decision in principle and enter into dialogue…”


Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Meles used this politically correct statement as a tactical diplomatic move. It would not also be surprising that the likes of Chris Mullin crafted this carefully worded transparent proposal for Meles so that they can absolve themselves of their responsibilities under the Algiers Agreement to enforce international law, UN Security Council resolutions and binding agreements.




Ethiopia Agrees to Pay Its Dues to The Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission and to Appoint Field Liaison Officers”


Mr. Prime Minister, it is about time you paid your dues. It was the international community’s policy of appeasement that allowed you to get away without paying for this long. I am glad you want to finally pay your dues. I am also glad that you are now ready to appoint Field Liaison Officers. Now the acid test is whether you are ready to allow the EEBC to perform its mandate without further delay, obstructions and pre-conditions.




Start Dialogue Immediately with the view to implementing the Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission's decision in a manner consistent with the Promotion or Sustainable Peace and Brotherly Ties between the Two Peoples


Here you go again Mr. Prime Minister; the Algiers Agreement is very clear about the implementation of the decision. You want to unilaterally interpret the Algiers Agreement and the EEBC decision the way you want to see it and the way you want it to be. Mr. Meles, the Algiers Agreements and the EEBC decision are both crystal clear and the implementation procedures are also in place. You know it as well as any literate person because it is clearly written in black and white.


Only the EEBC can implement the delimitation decision and it has to be implemented in a manner consistent with the final and binding decision of the EEBC, not the way you want it “a manner consistent with the Promotion or Sustainable Peace and Brotherly Ties between the Two Peoples”.  Article 4.2 of the Algiers Agreement states:


“The parties agree that a neutral Boundary Commission composed of five members shall be established with a mandate to delimit and demarcate the colonial treaty border based on pertinent colonial treaties (1900, 1902, 1908) and applicable international law. The Commission shall not have the power to make decisions ex aequo et bono”


The EEBC in its Observations of 21 March 2003 clearly expressed that:


“The Commission has no authority to vary the boundary line…the Commission’s

Delimitation determination is "final", the demarcation has to be the demarcation on

the ground of the boundary as delimited in the Delimitation Decision, not a variation

of that boundary or the elaboration of some new boundary


It is not a question of ex aequo et bono, it is a question of the rule of law!


Meles’ latest proposal is nothing new; it is his usual scare tactic; he just summarized what he has been saying for the last 3 years i.e. “that people will not allow the demarcation to take place’, “war will resume if the EEBC decision is implemented as is”, “communities will be divided” etc etc. ,


It is ironic that a person who deported over 80,000 Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean origin because he did not “like the color of their eyes” and the person who by militarily occupying their villages has forced over 60,000 Eritreans to live in makeshift camps for the last 7 years is now all of a sudden concerned about “Brotherly Ties between the Two Peoples” of Eritrea and Ethiopia. What a hypocrite!

Mr. Meles, in the last three years you have come up with three gimmicks. First you accepted the EEBC decision; second you rejected it, and now the third where you have accepted the EEBC decision “in Principle”. Mr. Meles, the rule is “three strikes and you are out”. I hope you are not going to come up with a fourth gimmick. For the sake of the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia in particular and the people of the Horn of Africa in general, please stop your flip-flopping and implement the EEBC decision without any further delays and pre-conditions.

The international community should stop entertaining Meles Zenawi’s never-ending never ending “proposals”. “Initiatives”,” threatening letters”, and “statements”. and urge him to comply with the Algiers Agreement. They should urge him to accept the final and binding decision and allow the demarcation to proceed without further delay and pre-conditions, and peace and security can prevail in the Horn of Africa.

The UN Security Council under Article 14 of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities as well as Articles 41 and 42 of the UN Charter has the legal right and obligation to invoke Chapter 7 against Ethiopia, which is violating the rule of law and threatening regional and international peace and security. 

Article 14 of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities says:


“The OAU and the United Nations commit themselves to guarantee the respect for this commitment of the two Parties until the determination of the common border on the basis of pertinent colonial treaties and applicable international law…This guarantee shall be comprised of…measures to be taken by the international community should one or both of the Parties violate this commitment, including appropriate measures to be taken under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter by the UN Security Council;”


 And Article 41 of the UN Charter states:

“The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations”

And Article 42 of the UN Charter states: 

“Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.”

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