“ Ethiopia’s short-sighted diplomatic mindset and occupation of Eritrean territory are unhealthy, regressive and deleterious factor, by itself, of regional insecurity and instability. ” – Yemane G. Meskel, Director, Office of President
By Rahel Weldeab,
TODAY marks 12 years since the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission issued its final and binding decision on the common border between the two countries, fulfilling a major part of the mandate entrusted to it by the Algiers Peace Agreement of 2000, a peace agreement that saw a cease fire of a 3 year border war.
Unfortunately, today also marks 12 years that peace has been held hostage as Ethiopia refuses to abide by the final and binding ruling of the EEBC and still occupies sovereign Eritrean territory. If all would have gone according to plan–in other words, if Ethiopia would have honored its treaty obligations–the border would have been fully demarcated by November 2003.
Although Ethiopia refused to allow the EEBC to finish its mandate by putting pillars on the ground to delineate the border, in November 2006 the Commission issued a statement saying it was obliged to adopt another approach, namely that of virtual demarcation. This being the case, the border does exist; the problem is that Ethiopia refuses to leave Eritrean sovereign territories.
Twelve years ago, 13 April 2002, the Ethiopian government was quick to celebrate the final verdict, but for some reason soon after, they took back their celebratory words when they came to realize the disputed town of Badme was awarded to Eritrea. Awkward is the situation since Badme doesn’t possess any natural resources that would make one want to keep a hold of it. No, the reason why Ethiopia doesn’t accept the EEBC ruling is because Ethiopia, Eritrea’s ex-colonizer, does not respect the independence Eritrea gained after a bitter 30 year armed struggle and a referendum that had 99.8% of the Eritrean people vote YES for independence.
In a bid to prolong this hostage situation of peace, Ethiopia propagates that there is a need for ‘dialogue,’ without taking a single step towards making a situation for dialogue possible. The final and binding ruling of the EEBC cannot be reversed under any circumstances, and Eritrea has officially repeated time and again that if Ethiopia withdraws its army from occupied sovereign Eritrean territory including the town of Badme in the morning, dialogue between the two countries would start in the afternoon.
So indeed, the grand question is why does Ethiopia insist on holding peace hostage? Ethiopia must end its occupation of Eritrean sovereign territory TODAY!
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