Kofi Annan: Sidelining and Shunning the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commissioners
By: Sophia Tesfamariam
September 13, 2005

The latest Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea was released on 30 August 2005 and already the multi million dollar Ethiopian lobbyists, who have contributed to the disinformation campaign and confusion regarding the issues surrounding the Eritrea Ethiopia border conflict, are once again putting in their own spin on what Kofi Annan's latest Report contained. The most important part of the latest report by UN Secretary General is not what is in it, but what is not.

For Eritrean Americans such as myself, who have been following the developments in the Eritrea Ethiopia border issue very closely, the latest report came as no surprise.  I have long contended that the Secretary General had long since compromised his neutrality and objectivity by using the quarterly reports to advance Ethiopia's lawless, belligerent, defiant, aggressive interests and hollow diplomatic and political arguments. I would like to raise the issues that have been deliberately avoided by the Secretary General in his quest to save his flip flopping, street smart, deceptive, and genocidal friend, Meles Zenawi, the Tigryan Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

As in his past Reports, the Secretary General's 30 August 2005 Report fails to call a spade a spade, it fails to clearly identify Ethiopia as the belligerent party which is obstructing the demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border in accordance with the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission's 13 April 2002 Final and Binding decision and the party that is preventing the Commission from fulfilling its legal mandate in accordance with the Algiers Agreements. signed by Eritrea and Ethiopia in December of 2000. He also fails to report that the minority regime, by militarily occupying sovereign Eritrean territories including Badme, is in violation of international law and the UN Charter.

The single most important issue that should have been addressed clearly and fully by Kofi Annan is Ethiopia's continued refusal to allow the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC) to demarcate the Eritrea Ethiopia Border without further delay and any preconditions. However, Kofi Annan preferred to concentrate on diversionary and peripheral issues such as direct over flights, free movement of UNMEE and "technical cooperation activities", while deliberately evading the core issue- demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border.

The use of deceptive, diversionary diplomatic jargons such as "dialogue", and the indulgence in games of "legal attrition" by Kofi Annan, are nothing more than transparent gimmicks designed to buy time for the beleaguered Meles Zenawi, the defiant leader of the minority vote rigging regime in Ethiopia. Kofi Annan had the audacity to simply report in less than 4 lines, that "the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission has suspended its activities in the area. There has, accordingly, been no further demarcation activity" without giving any further explanation.

Mr. Kofi Annan, no matter how much you try to hide or bury your head in the sand like the ostrich, the reason why the Commission has suspended its demarcation activities is because your friend, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia in Addis, has adamantly refused to cooperate with the Commission and is defiantly preventing it from fulfilling its sole mandate of demarcating the Eritrea Ethiopia border in accordance with its 13 April 2002 Final and Binding decision.

Every three months, Kofi Annan keeps telling us that his reports are "submitted pursuant to paragraph 12 of Security Council resolution 1320 (2000) of 15 September 2000". No matter how many times he tries to be evasive, and no matter how many unrelated tangential issues he intervenes in this Reports on behalf of his friend, the genocidal leader of the minority regime in Ethiopia, the Security Council's resolution 1320 is very clear about what it wants to see in Kofi Annan's quarterly reports. For the record, here is what Resolution 1320 says:

"...Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council closely and regularly informed of progress towards the implementation of this resolution... Emphasizes that the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities links the termination of the United Nations peacekeeping mission with the completion of the process of delimitation and demarcation of the Ethiopian-Eritrean border, and requests the Secretary-General to provide regular updates on the status of this issue[Demarcation]... Decides that the Council, in considering the renewal of the mandate of UNMEE, will take into account whether the parties have made adequate progress ..."

According to Resolution 1320, Kofi Annan should have clearly stated in his Reports that it is Ethiopia that has not made "adequate progress" in the implementation of the demarcation activity.

It is no wonder then, that the distinguished late Foreign Minister of Eritrea H.E. Ali Saed Abdella, sick and tired of Kofi Annan and the international community's seemingly endless diplomatic gimmicks, while addressing the 59th Session of the General Assembly last year, made the following clear and eloquent statement:

"...Ethiopia's belated rejection of the decision was an afterthought, which was done at first tentatively and cautiously but that later gained boldness and audacity when it realized that it can do so with impunity. The letter of the Prime Minister informing the United Nations Security Council that Ethiopia rejects the decision of the Boundary Commission was written sixteen full months after the decision was rendered. In a sense, Ethiopia's rejection has more to do with the conduct of the international community rather than any intrinsic problem of the decision itself. Critical factors in Ethiopia's rejection were the "sympathetic dispositions", "the winks and nods" that were signaled by certain countries and some foreign missions in Ethiopia... In spite of Ethiopia's violations of the Peace Agreement, major powers in the international community have not taken credible steps to persuade Ethiopia to uphold the rule of law and abide by its treaty obligations. On the contrary, Ethiopia continues to obtain massive humanitarian, economic and military support from major powers. Full-fledged economic sanctions may not even have been necessary. But the debt-cancellation, budgetary support and other substantial injections of economic and humanitarian support extended to Ethiopia have not been linked to positive performance in the peace process. So, as far as Eritrea is concerned, the problem is not Ethiopia's bad faith conduct in the border dispute, but international acquiescence in its violations which has in turn encouraged its intransigence..."

Today, instead of calling on the international community to pressure Ethiopia to unconditionally accept the Final and Binding EEBC decision, respect international law and allow for the speedy and unconditional demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border, the Secretary General is once again advancing Meles' request and demand and is attempting to create an "alternative mechanism" by irresponsibly calling for "unconditional dialogue".

Mr Kofi Annan clearly knows that the issue of dialogue on demarcation is illegal, and out of the question. He also knows that the decision of the EEBC is final and binding and is not open for amendments, revisions, revisits, or negotiations between the two parties. To refresh their memories, I suggest Kofi Annan and his speech writers go back and read the 24 February 2005 16th Report of the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission in its entirety. In this report, addressing the issue of dialogue, and Ethiopia's continued obstruction of the demarcation process, the EEBC 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..."

Kofi Annan must stop playing games with the lives and destinies of the people of Eritrea, Ethiopia and the people of the Horn. He must fully shoulder his responsibilities by urging the Security Council to invoke Chapter VII as called for in Article 14 of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities. Article 14 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..."

Only when appropriate punitive measures against the defiant Ethiopian regime are taken will the EEBC fulfill its mandate and resume demarcation activities in accordance with its demarcation directives, orders and procedures. Extending UNMEEs mandate every six months will be meaningless and pure waste of time and resources unless concrete actions are taken against the Tigrayan minority regime in Ethiopia and demarcation activities proceed unconditionally. 

Mr. Kofi Annan, you know that the only outstanding issue is Ethiopia's rejection of the Final and Binding decision of the EEBC, and the simple technical matter of placing pillars and markers at the already legally delineated Eritrea Ethiopia border. This does not need dialogue, what it needs is Ethiopia's unconditional cooperation with the Boundary Commission and adherence to its demarcation orders, directives and procedures. Mr. Kofi Annan, for the sake of peace and stability in the region, stop using hollow diplomatic jargons such as "impasse" and "stalemate" to describe Ethiopia's defiance of international law, it is about time that you call a spade a spade.

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