Martin Plaut of the BBC abuses journalism by lobbying for Ethiopia
By: Sophia Tesfamariam
January 10, 2004

Several Eritreans, including myself, hoping that he would listen to the voices of reason, and hoping that he would respect his journalistic ethics, tried to educate him on the facts. Here is what I wrote under the title “ Martin Plaut-Apologist for the Apartheid regime in Ethiopia ”

There has never been any “compromise” suggested by any law abiding and self respecting members of the international community to date. All suggestions about “compromise” have come from none other than Martin Plaut himself, TPLF paid agents, and some individuals who believe in the law of the jungle. Ever since his BBC bosses reprimanded him, Plaut has decided to become the mouthpiece for the minority regime in Addis. His baseless, not to mention inappropriate, and ludicrous suggestions include these statements he made just four months ago:

“ Ethiopia could continue to administer it, while acknowledging Eritrean sovereignty over the area.”

“It might even be possible, with a little goodwill, to agree to a joint administration of Badme.”

Just to refresh Plaut's memory, 120,000 Ethiopians were used as cannon fodder and minesweepers to fulfill the agenda of the expansionist regime, an agenda clearly depicted in its Greater Tigray Administrative map, which incorporated swatches of sovereign Eritrean territories. This map also included chunks of land from the Gondar and Wollo provinces of Ethiopia (a matter that I leave for the Ethiopian people to handle).

The political quagmire in which the minority regime finds itself is of it's own making, and Eritrea 's rights will not be subordinate to those of Ethiopia 's (Tigray). Dear Martin Plaut, the war was not about administration, it was about sovereign rights, territorial integrity and ownership, issues that will not be compromised by any law abiding nation. Eritrea , as a law abiding nation, will continue to respect the rule of law and the UN Security Council endorsed final and binding decision of the EBBC

Badme is no longer a disputed territory. After assessing the arguments presented by the high profile million dollar, legal team of the two parties, the independent Border Commission has unanimously decided that Badme was and remains “unequivocally” sovereign Eritrean territory. Leaving aside his distorted presentation of the facts, Martin Plaut's constant and absurd suggestions have absolutely no legal basis.

The reality is that the international community, including members of the United States Congress, the United Nations Security Council, the UN Secretary General, and the European Union, have repeatedly called on Ethiopia to implement the final and binding Border Commission decision, and the speedy demarcation of the common border. Plauts September 17th, 2003 BBC report is therefore, a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts as the international community knows them to be. It is also a disservice to the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea who will be victims of his fictitious analysis and absurd suggestions.

Obviously, he is more interested in appeasing the apartheid regime in Addis, than he is on reporting the truth. He is trying to mend his relationship with the apartheid regime in Addis, which was shaken by statements he made immediately after the April 13th, 2002 EEBC verdict was announced. A few days after the verdict, refuting the minority regime's and its agents campaign of misinformation campaign, alleging that “It is not clear to which side Badme was awarded” Martin Plaut, in his BBC report clearly stated that Badme was awarded to Eritrea. Infuriated by this factual report by Plaut , the Tigrayan regime launched an official protest against him to the BBC, which resulted in him being reprimanded by his bosses.

Mr. Plaut, are you expecting the Eritrean Government to protest against your unprofessional presentation of the facts so that you can be reprimanded again? Don't expect that; they have better things to do with their time. We the sons and daughters of Eritrea can professionally and adequately handle your lies and deceptions.

Unfortunately, Martin Plaut has not learned a lesson and has not stopped compromising his journalistic responsibility by once again choosing to become a mouthpiece, apologist and appeaser of the minority regime in Ethiopia .

Two days after the UN Security Council clearly rejected an alternative mechanism for demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border and:

•  “reaffirmed the final and binding Eritrea-Ethiopia BC decision"

•  “called for the expeditious implementation of the EEBC decision and demarcation of the border"

•  “expressed disappointment on Ethiopia 's rejection of the Border Commission's decision"

•  “expressed disappointment with Ethiopia 's refusal to fully cooperate with the Border Commission"

Martin Plaut again compromising his journalistic responsibilities, and consistent with his appeasement attitude towards the Tigrayan clique, writes on January 9, 2004 under the heading “Diplomatic muddle over Horn stalemate”:

“… as one UN insider remarked, unless the international community exerts concerted pressure on both sides to compromise, there is little chance that this issue will be resolved”.

As I promised in the previous article warning Mr. Plaut that we Eritreans would not let his deceptions and lies go unchallenged, I have no choice but to expose his latest article.

Mr. Plaut, first of all, your choice of “stalemate” as a title for your article is self-serving, unethical and pure fabrication. Any literate person who read the UN Security Council's January 7 th , 2004 Press Release knows there is no mention or insinuation of “stalemate”. As to the issue of your “UN insider” and “compromise” neither you nor your anonymous “UN insider” can peddle “compromise” over an already legally resolved issue. If I were to guess the identity of your “UN insider”, I would venture and guess that it is non-existent and none other than Martin Plaut yourself. Please stop using Journalism 101 tricks.

Mr. Martin Plaut, it is a well known fact to all of us, and in particular you as a “journalist”, must have seen and read that:

•  The Tigrayan Prime Minister Melles Zenawi had written an arrogant, insulting and defiant letter to UNSG Kofi Annan, rejecting the final and binding Border Commission decision.

•  The TPLF leader Melles Zenawi branded the EEBC "null and void" in his annual address to the Ethiopian parliament.

•  Not to be outdone by the Tigrayan Prime Minster, the Tigrayan Foreign Minister, Seyoum Mesfin also had publicly insulted the Border Commission (IRIN, October 20 th , 2003)

•  The Addis regime continues to obstruct the work of the Border Commission.

•  The apartheid regime from Tigray is also in material breach of several UN Security Council resolutions

Therefore Mr. Plaut, when it is crystal clear and the regime in Addis is itself admitting its defiance of the rule of law, why are you trying to defend this rogue regime, and why are you trying to justify the unjustifiable?

Mr. Plaut, what is needed is not your cover up, deception and distortion of facts, but Ethiopia 's compliance with the Algiers agreements it signed in 2000, and the expeditious demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia common border. That is why expressing his frustration with Ethiopia's continued defiance of international law and acceptable norms of behavior, Philippines' permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Lauro L. Baja, as a member of the Security Council said on January 7 th , 2004 that:

“ Nine resolutions and four presidential statements have already been issued on Eritrea- Ethiopia during the last four years…There is a heavy sense of frustration whenever Security Council resolutions are either ignored or remain unheeded….I call for the strict implementation of decisions and recommendations of the Security Council and its subsidiary bodies to maintain the credibility and integrity of its action…”

The Algiers Agreement spells out clearly what must be done by the UN Security Council if any of the two parties refuse to comply. Article 14 of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement adapted and endorsed by the UNSC 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".

Once again, Mr. Plaut, as I have done in my September 19 th , 2003 article, would like to humbly advise you to stick to your day time job as a journalist and to stop abusing the profession by lobbying for the minority regime in Ethiopia who neither has credibility, nor a social base, amongst the peace loving people of Ethiopia.

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