Home | News    Wednesday 19 December 2007

Sudan’s SPLM proposes peace initiative to end Eritrea-Ethiopia dispute


By Tesfa-alem Tekle

December18, 2007 (ADDIS ABABA) — Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has proposed an initiative to find out a peaceful negotiated settlement of the border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

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Eritrean president Isaias Afeworki shakes hands with Ethiopian Preme Minister meles Zenawi after the signing of peace agreement in Algiers on June 18, 2007

The proposal comes after leaders of SPLM delegation, headed by the Secretary General, Pagan Amum, held joint talks with officials from the ruling party, Ethiopian people revolutionary democratic front (EPRDF).

The Sudanese delegation has expressed its deep concern about tension rising between the two Horn nations over their border row.

The SPLM Secretary General, Pagan Amum, headed the SPLM side, while member of the executive office of the Popular Ethiopian peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front, Bereket Simon, headed the Ethiopian side in the discussions.

The parties have agreed to continue bilateral discussions in Juba, the capital of southern Sudan, in order to reinforce the relations for the interest of the two parties and peoples of Sudan and Ethiopia.

Following the discussions, EPRDF assured its readiness to accept any role that the SPLM could play to find out a negotiated peaceful lasting solution for border dispute between Addis Ababa and Asmara.

The two parties have also signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a strategic framework for future cooperation and bilateral relations in the areas of organizational construction and mass mobilization.

After the Eritrea-Ethiopia border panel dissolved it self last month tensions still remain at high of a possible new war breakout years after 1998-2000 border war claims some 70000 people.

The independent Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) which brought an end to the 1998-2000 border war Last September brought the two sides together for talks to push forward measures to physically demarcate the border along the line established in 2002, but the talks made no progress.


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  • 19 December 2007 11:47, by Chol Aleng Maguet

    I feel comfort and secure when i see my goverment participation on finding the solutions to cricis arrise between the countries such as the border tention between Ereteria and Ethipia and LRA with Uganda goverment.
    forsure,SPLM vision,mission and objectives are really meeting the humanity that repect equall right for every citizens in the country.
    thank you Mr President for making South Sudan a country of peace and Goverment that fight for the right of Marginazation.
    Go ahead for finding relationship and cooperation with the world and we are behind you supporting your lead.

    repondre message

  • 19 December 2007 13:24, by Mr. Hakim Monykuer Awuok

    I am very delighted for the great move that the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement is going about in bringing peace and harmony in East Africa and now the Horn of Africa. I have no doubt that SPLM will make it in Uniting the facting sides across thw continent.

    Today is settlement of the Eritrea - Ethiopia border and tomorrow will be bringing General Nkunda and President Joeph Kabila on the table to talk and end the killings of the innocent civilans who do not know the cause of the war.

    My message to my party leadership is that it is a good idea to bring peace to other countries as well but the most important of all is maintaining the peace we already have to sustain harmony . This will act as an exemplary to the countries into which we are bringing to peace. Let us combat the interest of the Intercontinnttal Politicians who in one wy or the other provoke the siuation and obviously generate the war. Enemies of peace are all around the corner who assume to be knowing what is supposed to be here and there.

    Please be ware!

    repondre message

    • 19 December 2007 21:16, by Yaadasaa Dafaa

      Dear all,
      One among the African leaders should start the wisdom of reconciliations, and development: whether scholastically, or practically as opposed to being or continue to on the same old path of glamorizing the Wars, destructions and harboring animosities.

      Even if I may choose to hold my judgments on the reconciliation of these two war mongers of the Horn of African heads of states, the proposals of SPLM appears to be heading on long over due undertakings by the Africans leaders and political thinkers themselves.

      Of course I am pessimistic knowing what I knew of these two African leaders both of whom came to power through the Gun, even though President Isayas lead one of the most exemplary revolution in Africa. But instead of establishing himself as one of the great Leaders of the Africa had ever produced by sharing the power of his people democratically, he became a president for life, silencing revolutionary leaders who fought with him once on the same side. Power, and control drove him insane, and he placed himself in the predicament of other African dictators. As far as the Ethiopian dictator is concerned, one should not go further than observing what he did during his journey to the Power, the recent so-called election, intrigues, tortures of OLF and all the Ethiopians with different or/and oppositional political persuasions.

      Coming back to the current topic under discussion,We have witnessed different futuristic vision of various governments which portrayed the summary of what they were made of. Therefore, it does not matter how small it could be, or how successful and persuasive they could be in narrowing the gap between the Ethiopian and Eriterian Leaders, SPLM is on the right move, and may the almighty God help them!!!

      repondre message

  • 19 December 2007 23:22, by Sophia Tesfamariam

    The Tigrayan minority regime in Ethiopia led by the deceptive Prime Minister Meles Zenawi squandered all opportunities and abused the magnanimity of the Government and people of Eritrea and this is yet another deceptive diversionary gimmick to present itself as a peaceloving regime.

    There is no "disputed" or "contested" border or territory between Eritrea and Ethiopia any longer. In its eloquent and clear 21 March 2003 Observations the EEBC explained the issue succintly when it said:

    "... It cannot allow one Party to claim for itself the right to insist on adjustment of parts of the boundary, which that Party finds disadvantageous...Ethiopia’s reference to "the contested boundary" can only be understood as a reference to those parts of the boundary to which it alone and unilaterally takes exception: no part of the boundary is "contested" by both Parties..."

    There is no "contested" or "disputed" border between Eritrea and Ethiopia and that fact has been consistently and repeatedly ascertained and confirmed by the EEBC.

    In its 16th Report to the UN Security Council, the EEBC said:

    "...The Commission must conclude by recalling that the line of the boundary was legally and finally determined by its Delimitation Decision of 13 April 2002. Though undemarcated, this line is binding upon both Parties, subject only to the minor qualifications expressed in the Delimitation Decision, unless they agree otherwise. Conduct inconsistent with this boundary line is unlawful..."

    Both Eritrea and Ethiopia, and the international community know that the border dispute has been legally resolved. Here is what the Security Council said in its 13 April 2002 Press Release:

    "...Members of the Security Council express their satisfaction that a final legal settlement of the border issues between Ethiopia and Eritrea has been completed in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed by the parties in Algiers in December 2000... Members of the Security Council welcome the decision by the Boundary Commission, announced in The Hague on 13 April 2002, which is Final and Binding... Members of the Security Council call on the parties to cooperate closely with the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) in the implementation of the border decision, with a view to ensuring an expeditious and orderly process for the benefit of all the people, and without unilateral actions...”

    Unfortunately, due to the minority regime in Ethiopia’s belligerence and intransigence, an “expeditious and orderly process” was not to be, and after waiting for over 51/2 years, the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC), which has the sole mandate to demarcate the Eritrea Ethiopia border, has been forced to wrap up its work by putting its demarcation coordinates on a map, as opposed to pillars on the ground. The Algiers Agreements signed between Eritrea and Ethiopia in December 2000 called for the delimitation and demarcation of the border in accordance with the colonial boundary treaties of 1900, 1902, and 1908 and the Commission did not have the power to make decisions ex aequo et bono (make geographical and humanitarian considerations).

    Meles Zenawi’s minority regime in Ethiopia rejected the findings of the Commission and refused to allow for the expeditious demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border. With the help of Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations and Jendayi E. Frazer, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, the regime in Ethiopia went to great lengths to alter, revise, and reverse the Final and Binding decision. For the last 51/2 years, the US led international community not only refused to force Ethiopia to comply with its legal obligations and allow the EEBC to demarcate the Eritrea Ethiopia border, by placing pillar markers on the ground, in fulfillment of its mandate in accordance with the Algiers’s Agreements, but also actively sought to hijack the EEBC’s mandate in order to appease the mercenary regime in Ethiopia.

    According to the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission’s Statement of 26 November 2006 to the Security Council, the obstacles from the Ethiopian side took various forms:

    - prohibiting fieldwork within the territory under its control, thus impeding the survey of ground control points for the aerial photography and the secondary datum survey (April to July 2002);

    - filing extensive comments on the Delimitation Decision, amounting to an attempt to reopen elements of the substance of that Decision, instead of limiting itself to the requested comments on the draft 1:25,000 maps (January 2003);

    - alleging that the Field Liaison Officers appointed by Eritrea were intelligence officers and refusing to allow field work to continue in Ethiopian territory, then failing to appoint ad hoc Field Liaison Officers within the prescribed time limit following the Commission’s Order of 9 February 2003 so as to allow field work to resume without further delay (January to February 2003);

    - failing to appoint new Field Liaison Officers for the remaining demarcation activities following the Commission’s Decision pursuant to Article 15B of the Demarcation Directions (July 2003 to March 2006);

    - failing to provide assurances for the security of all demarcation personnel (August 2003 to the present); failing to comment on maps which indicated the pillar locations in the Eastern Sector (September 2003);

    - repeatedly refusing to authorise necessary flight requests lodged by the Chief Surveyor; eventually limiting the Commission’s field work to the Eastern Sector by statements that the ad hoc Field Liaison Officers would only be permitted to operate in the Eastern Sector;

    - complaining to the Secretary-General of the United Nations of what Ethiopia termed “illegal, unjust and irresponsible decisions” of the Commission in respect of Badme and parts of the Central Sector, and proposing that the Security Council set up an alternative mechanism to demarcate the parts of the boundary it contested (September 2003);

    - denouncing in that same letter the Commission’s Delimitation Decision by stating that it would only recognise the southern boundary of the Temporary Security Zone (“TSZ”) as the international boundary; failing to provide assurances for the security of the contractors selected for the emplacement and as-built survey of the boundary pillars (September to October 2003);

    - rejecting the Commission’s invitation to attend a meeting on 5 November 2003, claiming that the notice was too short and that there was no likelihood of anything being achieved (October 2003);

    - refusing to permit any work to be carried out by the Commission’s field staff in the Western and Central Sectors until the boundary in the Eastern Sector had been demarcated and subject to Ethiopia’s approval of the Commission’s method of demarcation (November 2003);

    - failing to make prompt payment of its share of the Commission’s expenses (February 2004 to February 2005); rejecting the Commission’s invitation to a meeting to be held on 22 February 2005 on the ground that the meeting was premature, would be unproductive and could have an adverse impact on the demarcation process, as a result of which the Commission was obliged to cancel the meeting (February 2005);

    - failing again to meet its financial obligations (May 2006 to the present);

    - introducing qualifications to its previously unqualified acceptance of the final and binding quality of the Delimitation Decision (17 May 2006); failing to respond to the Commission’s request for assurances of freedom of movement and security for its staff travelling to the region to reopen the Commission’s Field Offices (July to August 2006);

    - failing to respond to the Commission’s invitation to a rescheduled meeting on 24 August 2006.

    After 5 ½ years of putting up with Ethiopia’s deceptive delaying tactics designed to reverse the Final and Binding decision and frustrate the it’s work, the Commission issued a Statement on 27 November 2006 and stated the following:

    “…As the Commission evidently cannot remain in existence indefinitely, it proposes that the Parties should, over the next twelve months, terminating at the end of November 2007, consider their positions and seek to reach agreement on the emplacement of pillars. If, by the end of that period, the Parties have not by themselves reached the necessary agreement and proceeded significantly to implement it, or have not requested and enabled the Commission to resume its activity, the Commission hereby determines that the boundary will automatically stand as demarcated by the boundary points listed in the Annex hereto and that the mandate of the Commission can then be regarded as fulfilled…”

    As November 2007 comes to an end, the Eritrea Ethiopia border issue will have moved another step forward with the legal demarcation, albeit on paper, of the border. Now both countries know where their sovereign territories lie. Therefore, the issue is no longer about demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border, but rather the military occupation by Ethiopia, of sovereign Eritrean territories, a gross violation of the UN Charter and a threat to international peace and security.

    At this juncture, I see only 3 options for moving forward and preserving the peace:

    I. Ethiopia fully accepts the Final and Binding EEBC demarcation decision of November 2007 unilaterally withdraws from all sovereign Eritrean territories that it is now militarily occupying.

    II. In fulfillment of its legal and moral responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security, the Security Council should determine to bring the invasion and occupation of Eritrea, by Ethiopia, to an end and restore the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Eritrea, affirm the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense, in response to the armed attack (occupation) by Ethiopia against Eritrea, in accordance with Article 51 of the Charter, and act under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, by taking appropriate measures to secure Ethiopia’ compliance with the EEBC’s Final and Binding delimitation and demarcation decisions, international law and the UN Charter.

    The Security Council, must determine that there exists a breach of international peace and security as regards to Ethiopia’s occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories, including Badme, and should act immediately under Articles 39 and 40 of the Charter of the United Nations, and condemn Ethiopia’s aggression and demand that Ethiopia withdraw immediately and unconditionally all of its forces to the November 2006 line of demarcation.

    III. If the Security Council continues to neglect its moral and legal responsibilities under the UN Charter, and if some members of the Security Council continue to obstruct justice and the rule of law in order to advance their own interests in the region, Eritrea will have no choice but to exercise the undesirable option of its inherent legal right to self defense. Article 51 of the UN Charter clearly says:

    "…Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security…"

    Just as the law enforcement bodies and institutions in any country are responsible for enforcing criminal and civil laws and legal and binding court decisions, the UN Security Council is responsible, for maintaining regional and international peace and security, for enforcing the UN Charter, international law, its own resolutions as well as legal and binding arbitrations. There can be no “dialogue” and “normalization of relations” with the regime while it is militarily occupying sovereign Eritrean territories and thousands of Eritreans are languishing in camps waiting to go home. Those parties that are encouraging its belligerence will bear full responsibility for the consequences.

    As Lord Avebury put it in his 13 December 2007 statement at House of Lords:

    “…When the Eritreans finally gained their independence, but war broke out again over the boundary, the international community failed to act firmly against Meles Zenawi’s refusal to accept the findings of the boundary commission. Now, after that commission has been disbanded, Meles remains in illegal occupation of some Eritrean territory, and refuses to accept the commission’s final recommendation for the boundary to be demarcated by co-ordinates. One-quarter of a million troops are confronting each other along this border, and Eritrea, a desperately poor country of 4 million inhabitants, has become a militarised police state, dubbed the worst country in the world for press freedom. Those are the reasons that the UN has to spend $120 million on the peacekeeping forces of UNMEE this year, and they help to explain why the two states are involved in a war in Somalia. Even now, if the UN took a robust line on the border decision and on withdrawal of Ethiopian forces, it could solve this problem, which would allow both countries to reduce military spending, to benefit from trade through Assab and Massawa, and to release the agricultural potential along the border. What is the UK doing, as a friend of both countries and as a permanent member of the Security Council, to avert this potential war?…”

    If it is to salvage its own credibility and integrity, and improve the efficacy of the UN, the Security Council should put at end to the minority regime’s occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories, or forfeit its relevance on issues of international peace and security.

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

    repondre message

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