- "...Deeply deplores Eritrea's continued imposition
of restrictions on the freedom of movement of UNMEE and demands that
the Government of Eritrea reverse, without further delay or preconditions,
its decision to ban UNMEE helicopter flights, as well as additional restrictions
imposed on the operations of UNMEE, and provide UNMEE with the access, assistance,
support and protection required for the performance of its duties..."
- "... Calls on both
parties to show maximum restraint and to refrain from any threat or use
of force against each other and demands that both parties return
to the 16 December 2004 levels of deployment, beginning with immediate effect
and completing this redeployment within 30 days, in order to prevent aggravation
of the situation..."
- "...Expresses its determination
to consider further appropriate measures, including under Article 41 of
the Charter of the United Nations, if one or both of the parties fail to
comply with the demands in paragraphs 1 and 2 above..."
- "...Demands that Ethiopia accept fully and
without further delay the final and binding decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia
Boundary Commission and take immediately concrete steps to enable, without
preconditions, the Commission to demarcate the border completely and promptly
and expresses its determination to monitor closely the actions of
both parties in relation to the demarcation of the border and to keep this
matter under consideration..."
Resolution 1640 missed the whole
point. War will take place not because United Nations Mission in Eritrea and
Ethiopia (UNMEE) helicopters have been grounded, or because both parties have
moved their forces to the border but rather because Ethiopia has defied international
law and has rejected the UN Security Council endorsed final and binding decision
of the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC). It has also forced the EEBC
to close its offices and leave the area and is belligerently occupying sovereign
Eritrean territories, including Badme.
Addressing Ethiopia's continued obstruction of the demarcation process, the EEBC,
in its 24 February 2005
Report to the Security Council 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..."
In my humble opinion, while Security
Council resolutions are generally considered binding under international law,
in this case the Security Council is violating its own principles and mandates
by appeasing Ethiopia. The U.N. Charter says that resolutions are valid as long
as they are consistent with "the principles of justice and international
law." However, resolution 1640 tries to punish Eritrea, the victim and law-abiding party, rather than the culprit
and defiant party, Ethiopia. It also violates Article 51 of the UN Charter; the right
of states to take measures in self defense, in this case, Eritrea's right to protect its sovereignty from Ethiopian occupation.
The right to self-defense is one
of the most basic rights of any state. In recognition of this, Articles 2
and 51 of the U.N. Charter codify that right and affirm that every state is
entitled to use self-defense to protect its territorial integrity and political
independence. When the Security Council acts on matters affecting peace and
security, it must do so within the confines of both the U.N. Charter and the
inherent rights of its member states. Thus Security Council resolutions may
coexist with Eritrea's inherent right to self-defense, but they cannot abridge
or trump that right.
The U.N. Charter requires the Security
Council to take "effective action" to promote peace and security
before it may supersede a state's inherent right to self-defense. The Security
Council has refused to take punitive actions against the expansionist, aggressive,
vote rigging, genocidal, belligerent regime in Ethiopia led by Meles Zenawi. The Security Council has adopted over
17 resolutions and has also released several statements on the Eritrea Ethiopia
border issue, but it has consistently refused to take punitive action against
Ethiopia for over 31/2 years. Emboldened by its inaction, Ethiopia continues to reject the final and binding decision of the
EEBC and Security Council resolutions. Despite what we may read in the media,
Ethiopia is not moving its troops to the border; in fact, what it
is doing is consolidating its occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories
The truth of the matter is that
UNMEE is on sovereign Eritrean territories and measures taken by Eritrea, including the ban on UNMEE helicopter flights, cannot and
must not be rescinded. The Border Commission, which has the sole mandate to
demarcate the Eritrea Ethiopia border, because of Ethiopia's threats, harassments,
intimidations and rejection, has not been able to fulfill its mandate and
has been forced to close its offices and leave the area making the issue of
the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) and UNMEE, in my humble opinion, irrelevant,
redundant and moot.
Resolution 1640 is a recipe for
disaster and the Security Council bears full responsibility for its outcome.
Eritrea must not rescind the ban on UNMEE helicopters unless the EEBC returns
to the area, opens its offices, Ethiopia pays its dues, appoints its liaison
officers, and demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border begins without pre-conditions.
The Security Council, which could not live up to its obligations under the
Algiers Agreement that it witnessed and guaranteed, has long compromised its
credibility and integrity. Moreover, Eritrea must reject and condemn this resolution because it is in
blatant violation of the principles of justice and international law and Eritrea's inherent right to self-defense.
Finally, it is my sincere hope that
the international community will call a spade a spade and deal with the potential
cause for war, Ethiopia's continued obstruction of the demarcation of the
Eritrea Ethiopia border by the Border Commission and Ethiopia's belligerent
occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories including Badme, rather then
dwelling on the symptom, Eritrea's restriction on UNMEE's movement.
The rule of law must prevail over
the law of the jungle.