In a letter from the Ethiopian Prime Minister to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan dated 19 September 2003, Ethiopia has formally and unequivocally rejected the border determinations of the Boundary Commission which set up in accordance with the Algiers peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia. The Prime Minster maligned the decisions as "totally illegal, unjust and irresponsible," and stated definitively that it was "unimaginable" for Ethiopia to accept them.
Furthermore, Ethiopia has unilaterally concluded that the boundary demarcation process is "in terminal crisis" and made it clear that it will not cooperate with the neutral Boundary Commission, whom it has unjustifiably blamed for the crisis. Calling for an "alternative mechanism" and wholesale change of the border decisions, which it asserts "could inevitably lead to another war," Ethiopia is threatening to once again unleash war unless it gets its way.
The Ethiopia position is a wholesale assault on international law, a flagrant violation of the Algiers Peace Agreement and rejection of pertinent UN Security Council resolutions. It also poses an immediate and real threat to regional peace and security.
Eritrea has faithfully respected its commitments under the Algiers Agreement and cooperated fully with the Boundary Commission and the United Nations. It has shown exemplary restraint and patience. Clearly, nothing more can be expected from Eritrea. Ethiopia's charge that Eritrea has refused to enter into "dialogue" to change the border decision is preposterous. It is inconceivable for the parties to hold "dialogue" after one party had unilaterally abrogated a binding peace agreement and rejected a "final and binding" international arbitration decision.
Ethiopia and only Ethiopia is the guilty and bellicose party. Ethiopia knows this; and so does the international community. The Algiers Agreements are clear on the consequences of failure by either party to comply to with the terms and conditions of the treaty. Article 14 of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement states, "...the OAU and the UN commit themselves to guarantee the respect for this commitment of the parties... This guarantee shall be comprised of measures to be taken by the international community should one or both parities violate this commitment, including appropriate measures to be taken under Chapter 7 of the Charter of the United Nations by the Security Council."
The obligations of the international community are thus clear; the measures at its disposal expressly spelled out in the Algiers Agreements, which in addition to the parties were signed by representatives of the UN, the African Union, the United States and the European Union.
Eritrea therefore, calls on the international community to live up to its obligations. It can not in good conscience fail to mention that Ethiopia's position has become increasingly intransigent because it has become emboldened by an established pattern of inexcusable tolerance by the international community. Specifically calls on the international community to declare that Ethiopia is in breach of its treaty obligations, determine that this violations and its threat to unleash war constitute a threat to regional peace and security and impose the full range of sanction on Ethiopia on the basis of Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.
All the ingredients and safeguards of success for the UN peace mission are in place. And yet failure to take prompt and decisive action now to halt Ethiopia lawlessness on its tracks can lead to the disastrous war that Ethiopia is threatening. Eritrea therefore calls on the guarantors of the peace agreement and all countries that have invested in UNMMEE to take timely action to ensure peace in our region.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Asmara, September 26, 2003.