The UN Second Injustice On Eritrea
By: Berhe Habte-Giorgis
December 21, 2005

Kofi Aanan and the UN Security Council have failed Eritrea for the second time. They have refused to force Ethiopia to implement the "FINAL AND BINDING" decision of the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission. By doing so, they have allowed Ethiopia to continue occupying sovereign Eritrean territory with impunity. The U.N. military force (UNMEE), in a sense, has become protector of Ethiopia's illegal acts. This is the U.N.'s Second Injustice against Eritrea. The First Injustice federated Eritrea with Ethiopia. As a result, Eritrea had to endure fifty years of tyranny and thirty years of armed to struggle to reverse this injustice.

As the nascent country tried to put its people on a fast track to development and progress, in a sordid rerun of history, Ethiopia launches a war to reverse Eritrean independence. Failing to achieve its goal, the government in Ethiopia embarked on a "No war no peace" strategy. The goals remain the same, only the approach changes.         

The conduct and words of the Secretary General of the U.N., Kofi Aanan, are unbecoming of a person in that position. On more than two occasions he has used disparaging remarks against Eritrea. In one instance, he said that Eritrea is a poor country that cannot afford a war, implying that it should accept any deal that Ethiopia is willing to offer. On another occasion, he plainly said that Eritrea, after all, is a country that is not at peace with its neighbors. These are words used by the Ethiopian Prime Minister and Foreign minister, ad nausea. The purpose is to make Eritrea look like a trouble maker and does not deserve to be heard. In making these statements Kofi Aanan played advocacy role for the Ethiopian leaders. Undoubtedly, he exceeded the boundary of his authority. After all, Eritrea is a U.N. member country that pays its dues regularly, and Kofi Aanan is an employee of member countries, including Eritrea. His words and deeds in dealing with member countries have to be proper. We have seen him how he behaves when dealing with the powerful countries.       

Kofi Aanan, by not presenting the demarcation case to the U.N. Security Council, despite the myriads of communication from the Eritrean Government, has provided tacit support for the "no-war-no-peace" strategy followed by Ethiopia. The "No-war-no-peace" language is a euphemism for war by other means against Eritrea. It aims at weakening the government, the economy, and the people's resolve to resist Ethiopia's schemes against the country. 

Kofi Aanan has undermined the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission's mandate to demarcate the border. Consequently, he has obstructed the implementation of the U.N Charter and the Algiers Agreement. A head of an organization that subverts a unit operating under his purview is not fit to be a leader of the organization. Failing to get any support for its program, the Border Commission had to fold its tent and abandon the project.

If the U.N. was a properly functioning organization, impeachment proceedings against Kofi Aanan would be the logical consequences of his failure to perform his duty. However, history shows that he is the global "Teflon" guy. He got rewarded by promotion to secretary general for his failures in the past. The most outrageous of them all is failing to act to save save close to a million Tutsis in Rwanda when he was the head of peace keeping operations. Recent investigative commission reports of maladministration and cronyism in the U.N. is ignored. The Iraq food for oil program scandal, although it stops short of indicting Aanan, casts heavy ethical failings. But still the man keeps trudging on, doing more harm than good.     

By the time Aanan leaves office, the only thing we remember of him will be one of an inept international servant of the big nations. The memory he will have of Eritrea will be one of a country that challenged him to perform to the call of the position he held. It will be a memory of one of his major failures that he will prefer not to remember. So would Haile Selassie, Mengistu Haile Mariam, and soon Meles Zenawi - only if they could.