By T. Beyene
When Eritrea gained its independence in 1991, it had so many dignitaries coming to Eritrea to pay their tribute to the people of Eritrea. One of them was, the Ethiopian Premier Meles Zenawi. When he joined in the sermon he came forward and delivered his inaugural speech with great care. In his speech he chose his words very carefully and said, he was overjoyed for the people of Eritrea, to achieve their independence through hard won struggle.
He also said, “don’t scratch your wounds as we feel the pain with you, don’t feel the discomfort and suffering, as the war is now over” We will work together hand in hand to make a new beginning, for the betterment of the two nations. His message was quite euphoric, confident – that in short, he said we will stand together come what may. Well, we were over the moon, and happy for the two communities to live together in peace. The rest of the world also paid its tribute and wished good health for the President and the people of Eritrea. As far as I was concerned the relation with Ethiopia and especially with the people of Tigrai was so unique and needed to be boosted with deliberate intention to secure the well-being of the two communities.
It should also be noted that over the years many Tigrian’s have been living in Eritrea before and after independence. So it was a very convenient situation to strengthen the relationship in many different ways. One way of advancing the interest of the two countries was in setting up, political and Economic Union-that could have led the two nations more closely to one another. To do this, what needed to be done was simple – allow for instance markets /shops to function freely on the border towns of the two countries, allow the two people to develop free movement with minimum political intervention, but with clear boundaries, and so the relationship could have grown logically for better future.
I was also with the view that people living on either side of the border could cross the border to meet the people on the other side for example at Zalanbessa in Ethiopia or Senafe in Eritrea. The two communities could meet once a year to have a kind of pilgrimage in this border towns, as we do between Eritrean villages in a celebration known as Nigdet. This would have brought them so close, so that the connection between the two people can be translated into better understanding. To go with this, I was also very mindful of what our grandfathers from the highlands, used to say that “kab Tigray Zeiwiled Aiechwan” meaning you can’t be noble if you are not related to the people of Tigray. In a way the saying was innocent and harmless, at the time, everyone was happy to interpret the meaning of the saying in practice. That nothing would separate us from being close neighbours. After all had it not been for the Italians, who have excluded the region of Tigrai from Eritrea, surely if the they wanted to bring the two communities together, they could have done so, with the consent of the people of Tigrai (Ethiopia) but it was not in their interest to do so at the time. Instead they confined themselves strictly within Eritrea, and left Tigrai in its place – Ethiopia. Of course if the Italians opted for the alternative, we could have been one people, with one language, one culture, marching together as one people. Who knows what could have been the future of these two people, but this was the history of the 1880s.
In the 1970th during the war of liberation against the military ruler of Ethiopia there was strong military cooperation between the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) and the Tigrian Liberation Front (TPLF). The EPLF were the dominant power of the Eritrean Revolution while the Tigrians were receiving all the necessary military training, to enable them to defeat the common enemy Mengistu Hailemariam of Ethiopia. The final show down with the common enemy came in May 1991when the EPLF completely liberated the whole of Eritrea and all pockets of resistance were completely wiped out. The next thing to do was to assist the Tigrian Liberation Front in their quest to clear up the Derg regime from Ethiopia.
It was at this point that the EPLF Mechanized Tank Brigade (MTB) spearheaded south in military cooperation with TPLF towards the heart land of Ethiopia – Addis Ababa. The dynamic of the Eritrean revolution and its effect was complete in flying colours. Within a week of Eritreans independence, the whole of Ethiopia including the capital Addis Abeba was, liberated.
Eritrea free at last, the hard protracted war had finally came to an end and the same thing happened in the rest of Ethiopia. From 1991-1998 it was so wonderful that the people of Eritrea as well as the people of Ethiopia had for the first time began to taste the sweetness of freedom and peace to the full. Especially for Eritreans the doors of heaven opened, and the skies turned blue from the dusty clouds of war. The nation began to rebuild its shattered economy from the ashes, after 30 years of protracted war.
Ethiopia on the other hand did the same, freeing itself from the tyrant regime of Mengistu Hailemariam, who then fled the country heading for exile into Zimbabwe – emptying the treasury in his country. Things worked very well until 1998 and Eritrea at this time should have asked for war reparation for the scorched earth policy that Ethiopia has inflicted on the people and property of Eritrea and hope this point is revisited again in any future talks with the rulers of Ethiopia.
In any case the regime in Ethiopia buoyed by capturing the crown in their country, with the cooperation of the Eritrean Tank Brigades, Mengistus regime and the riff-raffs of his troops completely wiped out, from the whole of Ethiopia – peace and tranquillity reigned over the two countries. Immediately afterwards a minority government lead by Meles Zenawi was set up in Ethiopia. Few years into power the minority government felt very comfortable and had learnt the ins and outs of what it meant to be in government. Very slowly they maintained a strong grip on power which in the end gave them the confidence to exercise it in their own ways.
At this point in time we were very happy for them and everything was moving in the right direction, until things began to evaporate rapidly when skirmishes on the Eritrea border towns of Badme started. Using stealth tactics, the Ethiopian troops on the border area began to push Eritrean border lines causing inhabitants living in the area to abandon or – forced them to flee to nearby villages in the area. The action Ethiopian troops took was quite unprecedented, it was so sudden and it confirmed many peoples suspicion -that the leadership of the minority government in Ethiopia had other hidden agendas. That after eight years of a cosy relationship, it began to get unpleasant. The harsh reality of politics was there to be tested, in Eritrea’s backyard. Such a shocking twist of events came out in the open and the honeymoon period among the two nations has now vanished. Such a minute misunderstanding that could have easily been solved – failed to materialize. The two sides easily came to blows with a minor border dispute, which lead into a full-fledged war that became very difficult to stop. At the time there, were quite a few Eritrean analysts who had predicted that, the leadership of Weyane could not be trusted as they were capable of pointing their guns on the people of Eritrea. Others were also voicing similar concern that, the Tigrian leadership had greater ambitions in setting up the Greater Republic of Tigrai, as it was clearly displayed in their manifesto in the 70s. Therefore pushing the border lines further, manifesto on sight, feeling ambitious and strong – how ironic. Instead of defusing the situation, they applied their hidden agenda by pushing the Eritrean-Ethiopian border deeper into Eritrean territory. .
Frankly the leadership in Ethiopia were bubbling with confidence from inside, thus the encroachment of Ethiopian troops, towards the Eritrean side, continued unabated around the town of Badme and its surrounding areas. One thing led to another and the first military exchange of fire took place around the town. What was quite shocking and took everyone by surprise, was the speed of the military engagement that developed in the locality into a full scale war. The push and pull factors of the border dispute went on fire, and no one thought such an accident or exchange of fire could erupt into full-fledged war of border dispute. The war spreadlike wild fire through other nearby towns on the border. At this moment in time the only thing Eritrea can do is simple, to defend itself against intruders. The border dispute took almost four years to end – causing so much destruction especially on the side of Eritrea.
Describing the war dispute between the two countries, a British journalist at the time said, the dispute was just like “two bald men fighting over a comb”. His explanation was – the area is barren, it was not good for grazing cows and goats, therefore war should have been avoided – at any cost by settling the dispute peacefully. Nonetheless for Eritrea, whether barren or a desert, Badme has been Eritrean historically, it has been Eritrean when the Italians occupied Eritrea since 1886, has been Eritrean under Ethiopian occupation, and was confirmed as Eritrean, by the UN Eritrea/Ethiopia Boundary Commission. It cannot be understood, what Ethiopia wants from Eritrea. One thing that needs to be remembered here is that it is hoped, that the Ethiopian Premier brings the border dispute to an end – as the two countries interests are intertwined in many ways. If he failed to do so, I am sure his successors would do it with immediate effect. In the meantime, the no war, no peace situation caused by Ethiopians refusal to accept the UN Boundaries Commission Ruling is causing economic distress for the people who live on both sides of the border.
The other big surprise about the border dispute for me was, once Ethiopian troops took control of Badme as they attempted to head deep towards Eritrea, they deliberately destroyed the area as they went. The proof was there for everyone to see, that the Ethiopian Army crossed the Mereb River to capture the whole of Eritrea in order to install a puppet regime similar to that of Somalia. Why do Ethiopian troops cross Mereb? It was quite incredible. There was no need for them to cross the Mereb River (Mereb is a border that separats the two countries in the south) it was quite outrageous, with an evil intention. By so doing they were aiming to terrorize the whole of Eritrea, desecrating Eritrean martyr’s graves along the way, demolishing, public buildings, hospitals schools, communication centres, Churches and Mosques. Their intrusion into proper Eritrea was seen by all Eritreans as unacceptable and was classed as a crime against humanity. As such the question that was asked then was, do the people of Eritrea deserve this from the very people that assisted them to claim the crown in Ethiopia. It was very shocking; however, it became very clear to the people of Eritrea, that the aim and objectives of the minority government of Ethiopia was to overthrow the Eritrean government with the
blessing of Condoleezza Rise and Jandai Fraser (the bulldozers of politics during the Bush administration). The two American politicians were advising the Weyanes to go deep in to Eritrea, in the hope of a Regime change. In so doing Eritrea could come ultimately under the influence of Ethiopia and the United States. But due to the heroic, efforts of the people of Eritrea it was foiled – it also taught Eritrea a lesson that she will never forget.
After Four years of heavy fighting on both sides, unbelievable destruction on the side of Eritrea, a ceasefire was finally declared by the two countries in the Alger’s Agreement of 2002. The Alger’s agreement became the frame work of understanding between the two countries. As a result of the agreement, President Isayas Afewerki of Eritrea, and Premier Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, signed in black and white to bring peace for the two nations. The Alger’s agreement became final and binding treaty. Witnessed by the International Community- Eritrea accepted the agreement in full without ifs or buts. Ethiopia initially said she has accepted it, but when the decision was made public she began to hesitate interpreting the decision of the UN Boundary Commission, in her own way. In other words Ethiopia tried very hard to dilute the meaning of the Alger’s agreement – using different tactics. Sometime they were saying they have accepted them in principle but reading between the lines, they were not keen to implement it. Other times they were saying they need to have a dialogue with Eritrea in order to carry out the agreement in practice. Their line of argument were not good enough to convince anyone.
The main reason being, when Badme was declared Eritrean by the Border Commission, Ethiopia was not happy with the verdict. She tried to justify that Badme belongs to her and it required for the issue of Badme to be discussed again and again. Up to the present day, Ethiopia has refused to accept the UN Boundaries Commissions Ruling. As a result Ethiopia has become an obstacle to peace and the border demarcation pillars have not been placed physically, due to their refusal to cooperate with the UN Group. For the UN to carry out their work to install the border pillars they need the cooperation of the two countries, Eritrea and Ethiopia. The latter has refused to give them the necessary guarantee to do their job. In turn the UN Group informed the Security Council, about Ethiopians non-compliance with the Alger’s agreement in placing the pillars. The UN group unable to fulfil their job had to leave the border area without completing their duty.
Immediately afterwards, the political manoeuvrings, from Ethiopia began to spread, false rumours in order to confuse people, creating unnecessary diversions from the main issue of demarcation. The aim was to delay the demarcation as long as possible so that to keep the issue of demarcation in a state of limbo, employing poppycock arguments to advance their cause. The intrigues, and innuendos, that were applied following the Alger’s Agreement in order to fundamentally change the fabric of the core agreement was, preposterous. Ethiopia’s objectives were all along to alter the Alger’s agreement with the help of the Americans who were in the driving seat of the agreement. To achieve their goal. Ethiopia and the United States of America had to send endless envoys, including the secretary general of the UN. All of them came one after another on behalf of Ethiopia. The envoys include Kofi Anan, Obasanjo of Nigeria, a Canadian envoy, Ban ki Moon. They shuttled in turns trying to change the arithmetic of the Alger’s agreement. It looks that all of them were not going to uphold the Law of the International Community, but to twist it in a manner that dilutes the agreement so that to favour Ethiopia. Eritrea quickly realised the secret plot that was set against her, by these guys in their clandestine love affair with Ethiopia, and stuck to its guns saying the UN Commission ruling vis-a-vis the border dispute between the two countries is final and binding. Therefore unmoved by the whole political drama, the virtual delimitation clearly defined according to International Law, Eritrea repeatedly said the law must take its natural course. What followed was more confusing misinformation, purposely spreading by the Ethiopian Government and its sympathisers. The arguments they put forward were quite
astonishing and this were as follows that:
- Ethiopia wants to negotiate but, the line of demarcation crosses
Communities, Churches and Mosques, therefore there is a need for
- If Badme is left in Ethiopian hands, then Ethiopia can provide in
exchange of lands with Eritrea elsewhere.
- That Ethiopia has accepted the UN Boundary Commissions decision in
principle but need to talk to Eritrea first.
- Ethiopia is a big country, like a big mountain, and she is supported by
the biggest mountain of all the United States of America therefore Eritrea
needs to talk to Ethiopia.
- Ethiopian sympathisers have also advanced another bizarre argument that
Ethiopian leadership has no problem with the Eritrean people, only with the
leadership in Asmara.
Yes we have heard these arguments again and again. Now let’s have a look at these arguments one by one:
Argument number one: assuming the line of demarcation splits communities, churches and mosques in two, this is unfortunate but the two communities could still have a relationship.? The simple reason is both Eritreans/ Tigreans on both sides of the border could go to church together, pray in mosque together, the two communities could have developed a normal relationship of peaceful coexistence, could remarry one another and have festivities together, visit one another’s houses easily. This would have created an atmosphere of good relations between the two communities. In addition if the border splits towns or villages, obviously affected inhabitants of the area could have been asked to choose whether to stay on the Eritrean side thereby, governed by the Eritrean government or move to the Ethiopian side to be governed by Ethiopia. For instance if the border demarcation places some Tigrian villages inside Eritrea then they will have the choice to stay inside Eritrea and governed by Eritrean flag and their rights would have been protected like any Eritrean or if they chose to move to the Ethiopian side of the border then the choice would have been available for them.
Secondly: Ethiopia accepted the Border Commissions decision in principle, but want to swap land with Eritrea – so that she can stay in Badme. The problem with this argument is that if you exchange any land outside the Alger’s agreement then it can be interpreted by expert lawyers as null and void, the meaning of the agreement cannot be the same. Or in other words Alger’s agreement would have lost its meaning. Give an inch you may be asked to give a mile and perhaps endless exchanges. In addition Eritrea’s principle is as clear as crystal, She does not want to give, what belongs to her, nor does she want to take what is not hers
Thirdly: Ethiopia has accepted the UN Boundaries Commission decision, in principle but need to talk. Eritrea has never refused to talk, it is Ethiopia who is refusing to talk to Eritrea, placing certain preconditions, and it is Ethiopia who is still sitting on sovereign Eritrean territory, therefore, what is there to talk about? To be honest whatever the Ethiopian Premier says I don’t believe a word of his lectures. If he is sincere enough and wanted peace with Eritrea the answer is simple. Can the Right Honourable gentleman stand up in front of his Parliament or tell the International community to call the UN group to start placing the pillars of demarcation and then Eritrea can talk about talks. Otherwise it is a useless Public Relations (PR) exercise.
Fourth: Ethiopia is a big country, like a big mountain, and has allied itself with the biggest mountain in the world (America) therefore Eritrea need to talk to Ethiopia to resolve the border dispute. Quite frankly we are very happy for them to lean to the biggest mountain; we respect them for what they are and what they do in the interest of their country. If joining a mountain can benefit their people it is their country and can do what they like with it, however the consequence of joining the biggest mountain especially nowadays is having its dynamic effect on those leaders who blindly accept the interest of the United States while, ignoring the interest of their own people. The consequence for African leaders including the Ethiopian Premier, who blindly support the US are now stumbling one by one and some of them have their planes ready on a standby to take them into exile and Ethiopia may be next. Therefore as far as Eritrea is concerned, she is not interested to lean on an Ethiopian mountain, she is not interested to lean into an American mountain, she is only interested to build her own mountain.
Therefore the choice is for Ethiopia to make peace with Eritrea and its neighbours first, and as regards the border dispute is concerned, it is nothing to do with being mountain or supported by a mountain. Obvious the United States of America and Ethiopia are making relentless efforts to frame Eritrea for any wrong doing from – Somalia to southern Sudan in order to weaken its economy and isolate her politically and above all to prevent the implementation of the Alger’s agreement. But the more the two countries plot to blackmail, the government and the people of Eritrea, the latter would double and triple their support to foil their absurd allegation that cannot be substantiated in front of the law. Moreover the United States of America is also deliberately blocking the implementation of the peace treaty between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Otherwise the US or the UN could have taken sanction, against Ethiopia’s refusal to abide by the Alger’s Agreement, but they have refused to do so in order to appease Ethiopia – so that the border dispute is left in limbo. This literally means, Meles is being supported, pampered by, the Americans against the people of Eritrean not to vacate sovereign Eritrean territory – in violation of International Law. But whether supported by America (the biggest mountain) or not, Meles ought to accept that the Border Commission’s Ruling is final and binding.
The final and lame duck argument that is pushed by the sympathizers of Ethiopia is that, Meles has no quarrel with the people of Eritrea only with the government of Asmara. This is one of the most ridiculous arguments I have heard so far. If this is the view with the Ethiopian premier then what he needs to do is simply apply what the French Ambassador to Ethiopia told him in 2002. The French Ambassador at the time said Ethiopian must vacate Badme and accept the Boundries Commission’s ruling- in return, the West were prepared to give him 100 Million dollars to build another Badme on the Ethiopian side of the border. The Ethiopian premier refused, because he felt Badme is Ethiopian, even when the Court told him it is Eritrean. It looks like the Ethiopian Premier is simply trying to become more Catholic than the Pope himself. Badme today or tomorrow will remain Eritrean.
The other point that needs to be repeated here is that, Meles has no quarrel with the people of Eritrea but with the Eritrean government, why shouldn’t he then sign the agreement for the sake of the Eritrean people? One has to remember that as human beings you may disagree with colleague’s, friends and government leaders If he has no quarrel with the people of Eritrea then I would like to suggest that the Ethiopian premier must be brave enough to build a friendship road that goes from Tigray to the port of Adullis, so that future generations of Eritreans and Tigrians can develop it, as it can serve the two communities. But having observed the Ethiopian premier when talking about Eritrea, having seen him using Eritrea as a scape goat on many occasions, having seen him manipulating other countries, the UN Security Council to push for sanction against Eritre – when there isn’t a shred of evidence on the ground to believe what he is saying against Eritrea. Surely all he is telling the world is black propaganda to keep the Eritrean issue alive as rallying ground for his supporters against the people of Eritrea and to drag Eritrean development to the stone age-he will not succeed and will fall flat on his head like his predecessors.
The whole idea of bringing the above mentioned useless arguments in connection with the border dispute, instead of accepting Border Commissions decision, is simply to hoodwink the International Community, and Eritrea, into accepting Ethiopia’s desire. Eritrea has done her fair share to accept what the International community demanded. What is not clearly understood is that, what does Ethiopia and her friends want Eritrea to do? Wave a white flag and beg for mercy from the Ethiopian leadership. That will not happen; the law needs to take its course. Meanwhile while Eritreans are engaged, day and night in developing their country, the Ethiopian Premier is sending, mixed signals. On the one hand he has been claiming that we are neighbours, brothers as we have so many things in common and, we need to solve the issue peacefully. On the other hand, he is making bellicose statement by alleging that Eritrea is engaged in trying to destabilize his country. For instance he has been alleging lately, that, if a bomb explodes in Mogadishu he will say it is Eritrea, if another bomb explodes in Somaliland / southern Sudan he will say- it is Eritrea, if a bomb explodes in Ethiopia, he will say it is Eritrea, if he has headache and wakes up at unusual time in the morning he will say – it is Eritrea. Unknowingly the Ethiopian premier seems to be singing the Eritrean National Anthem- Eritra, Eritra Eritra. Even at the last African Union (AU) meeting in Addis he was alleging, Eritrea was about to sabotage the conference. Is the right honourable Gentleman, alleging that Eritrea wants to kill her ambassador at the African Union Conference in Addis? To be frank he must release himself from this siege mentality. In other words it looks like he is being paranoid; that Eritrea is doing this and Eritrea is doing that. The right honourable gentleman has boxed himself in a political quagmire that Eritrea is responsible for all the ills in Ethiopia,it looks like the Ethiopian premier requires, political baptism to rehabilitate him to his right mind of thinking.
My personal view is the Ethiopian premier is using the Eritrean issue as a diversion from the problems of his country. He seems to be obsessed by Eritrea – even when the people of Tigrai and the rest of Ethiopia have been telling him to vacate sovereign Eritrean territory for the interest of the two nations. As far as Eritrea is concerned the border dispute is over once and for all and is now concentrating on its economic development rather than to talk about the border dispute, Working day and night to feed itself without any support from any outside powers, so it is no wonder, the successful policy of self – reliance that Eritrea is following is causing the blood pressure of some countries to go higher and higher. It also
looks like our friend Meles Zenawi cannot stomach the development progress that has been underscored in a peaceful Eritrea. I think he should leave Eritrea alone and free himself from the siege mentality of Eritrea and get on with the issues that need to be resolved. The border dispute between the two countries is final and binding, he must accept reality and admit Alger’s agreement is here to stay and it is not good to use Eritrea as a scapegoat.
It has to be noted that border disputes are very common among neighbouring countries, and there could be many different reasons why two nations, may come into conflicts on their borders. For instance it could be water dispute, mineral wealth, oil resources, border regions etc. These are some of the main causes of conflicts, but they are resolved amicably or by a third party.
In 1992, Nigeria had a similar border dispute with Cameroon, in the Bekassi Peninsula, with the discovery of potential oil reserve, which made matters worse. Then the dispute between, the two countries was brought to the world attention after clashes in the area. In 2002 the International Court decided that Nigeria vacates the land she inappropriately occupied and the disputed territory was awarded back to Cameroon. Nigeria initially refused to accept International Arbitration and occupied the land for many years. After 12 years of occupation Nigeria decided to give in to common sense and to listen to the International Community. Ethiopia will have no choice, but to give Badme back to Eritrea now or later.. In the present time however Eritrea will wait patiently until the time is right to get Badme back, meanwhile Eritrea is engaged in developing the environs of Badme.
So the border dispute since it started is still in stalemate and it has caused enormous damage to both Eritrea and Ethiopia. In the past Eritrea may have been receiving about 100 million dollars per year from Ethiopia, while the latter was given access to the ports of Assab and Massawa. However, due to the hostilities, Ethiopia has been using the ports of other countries Djibuti, Somalia, Kenya, these ports are further away and as a result, they are more expensive, three to four times more than using Eritrean ports. For these reasons the border dispute is hurting equally or even worse to the people of Tigrai and the rest of Ethiopia on the whole. Had this border dispute been resolved the Tigrean’s could even buy their fresh fish from the port of Massawa or Addulis, cook them and eaten them on the same day- in Zalambessa or Mekele, but with the border dispute still on standoff everything is on hold. From the American and Ethiopian point of view the main objective of the whole exercise is simply to weaken the economy of Eritrea, but this will not happen as Eritreans in diaspora and the people inside Eritrea are capable of footing the bill Ethiopia was paying for using Eritrean Ports. Still Eritreans want to settle the dispute with Ethiopia peacefully, but if Ethiopia is going to remain intransigent towards the peace treaty, Eritrea will have no choice except to remain vigil until the dispute is settled. As regards the use of Eritrean ports are concerned, obviously it would have been better for the peace treaty to be implemented so that Ethiopia can have access to Eritrean ports in line with International Law, otherwise Eritrea will remain happy to harvest fishes from its ports at the same time she will be more than happy to swim, with heards of her Camels in its calm waters, until the time is right for the two countries to establish good relations.
What need to be understood here is that, any dispute is resolved by negotiations, and it has been almost thirteen years since this dispute came to an end. Yet the status quo of no war no peace situation continues, what future does this hold for the two countries. Well, I hope Ethiopia comes to its senses and apply the inevitable, accepts the rule of the law because the two countries are interweaved in so many aspect of their lives, especially with the people of Tigrai. I hope the Right Honourable Gentleman (Meles) will be the person who will bring the dispute to a positive conclusion, otherwise Meles may not stay in power for long, and the next
election for him may be the last. Even if he survived by rigging the election, the situation for him may be very difficult to govern. I would like him to come to his sense and be remembered as a man who brought peace in the interest of the two nations.
This brings me to say that, few years ago, I attended a sermon for an Eritrean man who passed away in London. So I went to a church in South London to pay my respects to the fellow Eritrean. In the church the Priest said few interesting words and he said at times of death, people, always ask questions about the deceased person’s history as to what he/she has achieved in real life. Then the Priest said any human being in life must have achieved something positive so that people can remember him / her for the good things they have contributed to society / politics, peaceful agreements etc. In so doing they can be celebrated forever or their name can be written in gold for generations to come.
So how does the Ethiopian leader want us Eritreans to remember him in history? I would say the following, that history tells me that he stood side by side with Eritreans in arms and fought against the common enemy, Megistu Hailemariam. At the time of Eritrean independence he also took the courage to tell some warmongering Ethiopian parliamentarians that Eritrea is free and if anyone else want to continue the war, he wished them good luck, when it comes to the port of Assab he made very clear, repeatedly that it is Eritrean. Obviously things have changed now and if history would be kind to our friend Melees he should have the courage and call the UN back, to complete the physical demarcation of the borders for the sake of peace so that he can be remembered as a man of peace.
Finally, it is often said that peace talks, disputes, and conflicts can only succeed when each side put itself in the shoes of the other. When it comes to the border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia it is the Ethiopian leader that needs to alter his shoe size to match that of his counterpart the Eritrean President. After all it is Ethiopia that has failed to honour the final and binding decision of the courts, let’s hope that the Ethiopian premier would use his common sense and completes the
picture of peace that he started with Eritrea, otherwise, history will not give him any more opportunities – the ball remains entirely in his court.
Part Three to follow