Kofi Annan, Legwaila and Meles - Partners in Disaster
By: Sophia Tesfamariam
October 6, 2005

Although I have often blamed the failure of the Eritrea Ethiopia peace process on Meles Zenawi's intransigent and belligerent minority regime ruling Ethiopia, I have also consistently warned of the impartiality of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Legwaila Joseph Legwaila and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and their inability to call a spade a spade.

On the issue of implementing without any preconditions the final and binding decision of the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC),  I have long maintained that Kofi Annan and Legwaila Joseph Legwaila operated outside of their Security Council mandates and acted, not as impartial representatives of the United Nations', but rather as Meles Zenawi's hired guns as well as unofficial spokespersons for the defiant, lawless belligerent, flip-flopping, street smart, genocidal, vote rigging Tigrayan minority regime in Ethiopia.  

Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, has subverted the Eritrea Ethiopia peace process, obstructed the expeditious demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border, presented biased and inaccurate reports to the Security Council, covered up Meles Zenawi's intransigence and unfairly and unduly pressured Eritrea to give in to Meles' illegal demands and gimmicks by calling for "political dialogue" to revisit, change, alter and revise the final and binding decision of the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission.  Kofi Annan for his part, succumbing to the Tigrayan Prime Minister's call for "an alternative mechanism", has repeatedly attempted to hijack the EEBC's sole mandate of demarcating the Eritrea Ethiopia border by appointing Lloyd Axworthy as his Special Envoy to Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Mr. Legwaila who has been hibernating for a long time has once again surfaced to save his vote rigging, genocidal friend Meles Zenawi. Using the occasion of the International Day of Peace as a cover, on 21 September 2005 Legwaila said:

"... I've been in several peacekeeping operations. As a UN man, I know that no peace process has succeeded without dialogue. Even in Bosnia, where they were violating the ceasefire five times a day sometimes, they were busy talking, trying to find a peaceful solution..."

We all know that Mr. Legwaila is "a UN man" and a seasoned diplomat. But mind you, in spite of his experience in the UN and his in-depth knowledge of the Eritrea Ethiopia border issue, Mr. Legwaila in his 21 September 2005 statement never mentioned the border demarcation that was supposed to take only 4-6 months and should have been completed by November 2004. Because he doesn't want to offend his friend Meles, and because he knows that it is Meles who has rejected the final and binding EEBC decision, he chose to divert the issues by once again raising the issue of "political dialogue".

Mr. Legwaila, please don't try to play smart and insult our intelligence. The case of Bosnia is entirely different from the Eritrean Ethiopian Border Commission's decision. I have said this a hundred times before and do not mind repeating it again for the record. Mr. Legwaila knows that the Eritrea Ethiopia border conflict was legally resolved when the independent Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission delivered its final and binding decision on 13 April 2002. He also knows that what remains is the demarcation of the border in accordance the EEBC's decision, demarcation directives, orders and procedures. Mr. Legwaila also knows that the establishment of the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission, and its decision to be final and binding, as well as the implementation directives and procedures are all a products of intensive negotiations and dialogue between the two parties.

Therefore, Mr. Legwaila's request for "political dialogue" at this final stage of the only remaining technical matter, the demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border, is not only a miscarriage of justice, but a disservice to the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia as well the rest of the people in the region. These self-serving diplomatic jargons such as "dialogue", "stalemate", "deadlock", "impasse" are deliberately concocted by Meles Zenawi, Legwaila Joseph Legwaila and Kofi Annan's for no other reason than to change, amend, revisit, revise, etc. the final and binding decision of the EEBC. These diplomatic ploys are a violation of international law and are also nothing more than deliberate delaying tactics designed to prolong the demarcation process.

Despite feigning amnesia, Mr. Legwaila knows that Eritrea has accepted the final and binding decision of the independent Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission and has consistently expressed its readiness to implement the demarcation directives, orders and procedures of the EEBC without any pre-conditions. On the other hand, Mr. Legwaila also knows that the minority regime in Ethiopia has rejected the EEBC's final and binding decision, violated all UN Security Council resolutions and the Algiers Agreements. In fact, in spite of Seyoum Mesfin's outright deceptions and lies in front of the UN General Assembly, Legwaila clearly knows that the regime in Ethiopia is today militarily occupying sovereign Eritrean territories, including Badme.

Mr. Legwaila, the "UN man" and seasoned diplomat (by his own admission) clearly knows that the Security Council itself has abrogated its moral and legal responsibilities by refusing  to take any punitive actions by invoking Chapter VII against Ethiopia as called for by the Algiers Agreements and the UN Charter.

Mr. Legwaila, as a former Ambassador of Botswana to the UN, and as "a UN Man", knows that the Government of Eritrea, because its sovereign territories are militarily and illegally occupied by the regime in Ethiopia, has an inherent right to self defense in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter. 

Therefore Mr. Legwaila, please stop being the front man and mouth piece for the defiant minority regime in Ethiopia. It is about time that you stop your diplomatic shenanigans and sophistry and concentrate on defending the rule of law. I urge you to pressure and advise your friend Meles to accept the EEBC's final and binding decision and to allow for the speedy demarcation of the border in accordance with the EEBC's decision and its demarcation directives, orders and procedures without any pre-conditions.

The international community, which reacted too late to prevent the Rwanda genocides but were nevertheless fast to apologize and express sorrow after the effect for not reacting ahead of time and preventing the genocides cannot allow "never again" to become just another empty slogan. They must act now. As an Eritrean American and a descendent of the Horn of Africa, I hope Mr. Legwiala and Mr. Kofi Annan will prevent a repeat of Rwanda in the Horn of Africa. I hope Kofi Annan is not going to make the same mistake in the Horn of Africa as he did in Rwanda.

The rule of law must prevail over the law of the jungle!