10 YEARS OF OCCUPATION: WHAT DO THEY GAIN?

THE EEBC DECISION TEN YEARS LATER AND ETHIOPIA'S ILLEGAL OCCUPATION:
10 YEARS OF OCCUPATION: WHAT DO THEY GAIN?
By Rahel Suim Keleta

It is now 10 years since the Boundary Commission passed its verdict. Had the agreement been honoured the border would have been fully demarcated by November 2003 leading to peace and stability in the region. Unfortunately Ethiopia has refused to accept the decision of the Boundary Commission. Ten years on, Ethiopia is still occupying sovereign Eritrean territory.

The Algiers Agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia and the subsequent EEBC decision was a welcome culmination of a war brought about by a border conflict. The war fought between 1998 and 2000 has claimed the lives of over tens of thousands of people and caused much material destruction amounting to billions of pounds. The conflict has also hindered much needed development projects in both Eritrea and Ethiopia – two of the poorest countries in the world.

A complete and unconditional implementation of the Eritrean and Ethiopian border decision would have dispersed the ever-present clouds of war between the two countries. With this stand, Eritreans around the world have been consistently calling on all guarantors of the agreement to take firm steps to encourage Ethiopia to accept the decision of the EEBC unconditionally. So far, their calls have fallen on deaf ears. The two countries have lost great opportunities in being example to the rest of Africa by working together and meeting the aspirations of their people. Instead, the people of both countries have suffered unnecessarily and still do for a simple reason that one country holds peace hostage and the Security Council is not doing its job.

What is so baffling is that the Security Council and the US have decided to put fuel on the fire not only by refusing to shoulder their responsibility, but by passing unfair and unjust sanctions against Eritrea. It is difficult to comprehend what they gain by prolonging and perpetuating the suffering of people. What is it that they are trying to achieve by taking sides and encouraging lawlessness?

Submission to unfair treatment and injustice has never been an option to any self-respecting people. Like our forefathers, we shall continue to demand our rights to live in peace.