Eritrean-Americans Demand and Expect Action on Unconditional Demarcation
By: Ogbazgy Abbay Asmerom
February 13, 2006

On February 13, 2006, thousands of Eritrean-Americans will converge at the White House, the Capitol Building, and the State Department. Their message is going to be very clear: A call on the US government to compel Ethiopia to accept the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission's (EEBC) final and binding border DECISION and to cooperate with the EEBC to completely and expeditiously demarcate its joint border with Eritrea without any preconditions. Already thousands of Eritreans who live in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, Asia, and South America have signed an online petition to show their desire that the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia be demarcated without any delay. The online petitions together with the paper petitions, expected to be over 10,000 will be submitted to the White House, US Congress, and the State Department.

Eritreans have patiently waited for four years hoping, against all kinds of false hopes, to see the demarcation of their border with Ethiopia. The Eritrean government had repeatedly and patiently reminded the world community to take action. So far, nothing has been done! It appears those who consider themselves as custodians of the rule of law, namely the United States of America, the European Union, and the United Nations have directly or indirectly encouraged Ethiopian intransigency, recalcitrant, and breach of international law.

The main objective of the February 13, 2006 Peace Demonstration is thus to call upon the United States Government to stand for the rule of law and thereby compel Ethiopia to unconditionally and expeditiously implement the EEBC Decision which affirmed Eritrea’s borders on April 13, 2002. On this Eritreans do not have any ifs, buts, or this and that! Their message is very clear and simple! UNCONDITIONAL AND IMMEDIATE DEMARCATION!
After four years, Ethiopia has yet to accept the Decision.

It is in breach of its treaty obligation that it signed in Algiers in the presence of US, EU, UN and OAU officials, the latter signing as witnesses and guarantors. Ethiopia has declared the EEBC Decision as “null and void”, “illegal, unjust and irresponsible.” In short it has chosen to ignore international law and illegally occupying sovereign Eritrean territories. Time is running out and action must be taken! The objectives of the Peace Demonstration are, but not limited to:
1. Call on the US government to immediately take a concrete action to ensure an unconditional implementation of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission Decision of April 13, 2002.
2. Demand that the US as a permanent member and president of the United Nations Security Council use its influence to ensure Ethiopia lives up to its treaty obligation.
3. Make it clear that Eritreans are united and do speak with one voice and declare that there is no substitution to the immediate demarcation of the border, and that wherever they are located or live, they do care about the welfare and future of their homeland and loved ones;
4. Show that there are many young Eritrean-Americans who grew up in the USA, have understood how the political system in the USA works and they are going to use their political voice effectively. They now know that “all politics is local”!
5. Put on notice any US lawmaker who does not consider the interests of Eritrean-Americans at the local and international levels will not get any votes. Eritrean-Americans as US citizens do vote in all levels of American elections.
6. Show that all peace-loving Eritreans support the steps being taken by the Eritrean government to bring about the demarcation of the border;
7. Express that no Eritrean is for dialogue with Ethiopia before the border is fully and unconditionally demarcated.
8. Demand that the politicians and law makers in the White House, Congress, and the State Department show a sense of fairness, leadership, and then give them the chance to work for the implementation of the demarcation directives
9. Emphasize that the Eritrean government and the Eritrean people do not accept any side kicks, tricks, or alternative mechanisms that would derail the final and binding Decision of the EEBC
10. Stress that dialogue, alternative mechanism, and “accepting in principle” are not terms that the Eritrean government and people are willing to entertain.

Demarcation, based on the Decision given by the EEBC, is the only solution. There is no other means that will lead to a lasting peace! Let it also be known that Eritreans at home and in the Diaspora are not crying for any mercy to come to them from outside sources but to put the international community on notice that international law is being violated and that its consequences will be grave. Eritreans are very resilient people. They have persevered for a long time. Their resilience and perseverance of 30 years have ushered Eritrean independence. They are not going to trade that for any crumbs of whirlwind diplomacy, tricks, and tactics that do not produce any tangible results. They know what it means to be patient and resolute. However, they also want to send a clear message that patience too has its limits.