Kofi Annan's Disservice to the Peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia
By: Huriy Ghirmai
November 9, 2005

While Meles Zenawi's Ethiopian security forces indulged in the killing of innocent people in full view of the world, Kofi Annan's concern lay elsewhere. In the last month or so, his overt partisan role in the present crisis between Eritrea and Ethiopia has become louder and clearer than ever. This of course reflects rather badly on him and the United Nations.

The Secretary General's error of judgment will no doubt have significant repercussions on the peoples of both Eritrea and Ethiopia. As it is now, he has failed to condemn the atrocities being committed against the people by the Tigrayan ethno-national regime lording it over in Ethiopia. In this regard, he has failed the people of Ethiopia in a way that history will not forget.

Following instructions coming directly from Meles Zenawi, the security forces have mowed down many innocent Ethiopians including children as young as 11. It has been widely reported that police and members of the army were tossing grenades to disperse crowds. All in all so far, over a hundred people have been killed in Addis Ababa and other parts of the country.

In a way that many of us will never understand, Kofi Annan seems to be serving as a foot soldier of Meles Zenawi's warped agenda. The Ethiopian Prime Minister is of course still the same man who has stood on the wrong side of international law for some time now. He has not only reneged on the Algiers Peace Agreement with Eritrea but also stolen the sham elections in Ethiopia.

Kofi Annan seems to be solidly intent on giving the Ethiopian government a hand by providing a cleverly orchestrated subterfuge. Knowing full well that the spectacle of innocent people being machine-gunned in the streets of the capital were enough to grab the attention of even the most cold-hearted person, Kofi Annan has cynically concocted a diversion. 

Totally out of the blue, as if the rejection of an internationally brokered deal by an arrogant Ethiopian government was not enough transgression that threatened peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia, he preferred to huff and puff about the flight ban on the UN by Eritrea. He bemoaned the situation in a language that belied the solid facts that cannot be distorted easily.

The EEBC decision was, is and will still be final and binding and no amount of spin will change that. Ethiopia's rejection of the agreement is illegal and stands to make a mockery of international rule of law. If, as Kofi Annan warns, there is a looming war, it is only because the Ethiopian government has defied the rule of law. When the world asks as to what went wrong, then the blame will land fair and square not only at the foot of the Ethiopian government but also the United Nations.

The UN, through the Security Council, was mandated to take action where one of the parties to the Algiers Agreement refused to abide by the final and binding decision of the Boundary Commission. As provisioned by the Agreement, the UN could empower the UN Security Council to take appropriate action by invoking Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Yet the UN has sat idle for the past three years instead of taking firm measure against Ethiopia.

Any piece of law is just a string of dead words if a body that claims to uphold it is not willing to enforce it. If member nations of the United Nations are seen to flout the very principles on which the UN is founded upon with unwavering impunity, then anarchy becomes the byword. But worse still, when the UN takes a partisan role instead of enforcing the rule of law, the world we live in becomes a dangerous place. As well as Eritreans, Ethiopians should take heed against the setting of such dangerous precedent.

Kofi Annan, whether deliberately or not, has lent Meles Zenawi a hand in hoodwinking the world about what really is going down in Ethiopia. Instead of alerting the world as to the atrocities committed in the city streets of Ethiopia, he rather craftily created a diversion with his claptrap about an impending war between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Let it be known that Eritrea does not want war with Ethiopia. The peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia will gain nothing from a resumption of a war that has already claimed many lives and caused incalculable material destruction. Eritrea knows this full well.

Kofi Annan rather unscrupulously, seems to have stolen the show, if one is permitted to put it that way. The world, instead of focussing its attention on the slaughter of innocents in Ethiopian cities and villages, has been made to talk about a crisis that never was.

All Ethiopians should realize this. In the final analysis, they have been victimized not just by Meles Zenawi but also Kofi Annan's indifference to their plight. The Secretary General, just like he has failed the people of Eritrea, has failed the Ethiopian people as well. One only hopes that he shall one day be brought to book for failing his office and the peoples of both countries.