Why Eritrea ruled out any border dialog
By: Zemen Tesfay
October 26, 2003

Eritrea has rejected any dialog concerning the border ruling. The reason behind the decision is not hard to figure out. They are:

1) Respecting the international law.

2) A matter of legal and internationally recognized border.

3) Present TPLF status.

1) RESPECTING THE INTERNATIONAL LAW

Before Ethiopia declared war on Eritrea in 1998, there was continued dialog which consisted of several meetings and talks between the parties. Since 1993 they were seriously taking about the border. Eritrea then at the last minute begged PM Meles Zenawi to personally stop the invasion in Adi Murug and Badme, and through the letter of President Issayas he was told that the border could be demarcated if necessary. But Ethiopia rejected the proposal and went to war. As the international community intervened they agreed and signed to delimit and demarcate the border once a neutral border commission gives its verdict, and that the verdict would be final and binding. The agreement included that any party rejecting the decision would be enforced [by the international community] to accept the ruling.

Now that Ethiopia has rejected the ruling, Eritrea is asking according to the agreement for sanctions to be implemented on Ethiopia. If now Eritrea accepts any kind of border dialog, it would be Eritrea that is crushing the 'final and binding agreement'. That means going back to those days of meetings with out agreement and at the end leading to war. At the same time by accepting a dialog you are giving the international community a signal that you don't abide by international law. That is why Eritrea said "We are talking about the rule of law. No party is allowed to change this. There is no good war and no bad peace" and that " We would have the rule of the jungle instead of the rule of law,"

[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/2903229.stm ,

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=36818&SelectRegion=Horn_of_Africa&SelectCountry=ERITREA-ETHIOPIA ]

The EEBC has several times confirmed that there will never be a change of ruling and the contested village Badme is in Eritrea. Then why would Eritrea open this closed issue.

The Security Council has rejected Ethiopia's demand to change ruling. Why would Eritrea open it.

Asked "if UNMEE think any responsibility for the current difficulties lies with Eritrea? SRSG answered saying "Eritrea has not said to me that they are rejecting any part of the decision of the Boundary Commission, so why should the responsibility lie with Eritrea." he said. So, why would Eritrea open dialog and take responsibility for the difficulties.

UNMEE said that "concerned parts have been writing letters to the Parties left and right. Not only the Secretary-General, but I'm told even the President of the United States has written letters to the Parties......many presidents, many prime ministers who have written letters to the two Parties to say "Please, please, let's implement this decision because there is no alternative, because if the border is not demarcated, ...". If this is the
issue why would Eritrea say lets go to dialog and halt demarcation?

Of course there is no desire by the international community and the peace guarantors to implement sanction on neither Ethiopia nor Eritrea. So they have to try means to solve the present situation and will ask parties to dialog [that is why Legwaila. J. Lagwaila is saying dialog is necessary, despite the fact that he knows very well about the agreement of sanction to the party which is rejecting and the party which he regretted on]. If
Eritrea says enough is enough they will be forced to implement sanction on Ethiopia because the agreement says so, not dialog. We should remember that this is a test to the international community too, on how far they respect the laws they write and dictate. We should know that some diplomats in Addis Ababa and Asmara are saying its time for UN to impose sanction to Ethiopia.

2) A MATTER OF LEGAL AND INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED BORDER

Going to dialog means to dismiss this legal and internationally recognized border. Once you say lets talk of new border ruling then there will be no border at all. It is as any other legal matter. If you lose a property and discuss about the property with the same person who was keeping it for his own after the judge says its yours, then the problem is you. The judge would say from now on its your problem. The same could EEBC say to Eritrea, "it is your fault if you give it up not ours."

3) THE PRESENT TPLF STATUS

We don't need to go deep on this item. One can only say that not long ago PM Meles declared several times that "with the present regime in Eritrea there will be neither normalization nor dialog." But today the voice is "I can make a dialog even with the devil himself". That is how the situation is if you guess what I mean.

There is no need for dialog on border ruling. The international law which is signed between the two parties and the guarantors says to force the party which is rejecting the final and binding agreement to accept. PM Meles says no one can force us and the guarantors should say 'we can' this time.