UNSG Kofi Annan: Meles Zenawi's Apologist and Spokesperson
By: Sophia Tesfamariam
November 10, 2005

First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to convey my sincerest condolences to the families of those who have been massacred by the Ethiopian defense and security apparatus under the direct command of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Today the state sponsored terrorism in Ethiopia continues, as thousands of young men are being rounded up and detained across Ethiopia by the ruthless apartheid regime. We stand in solidarity with the oppressed and terrorized people of Ethiopia as they struggle for justice and the rule of law against the vote-rigging, murderous thugocracy led by Meles Zenawi.

For the last week, we have been reading and listening in total disbelief as Meles Zenawi's security and military forces massacred even more Ethiopians than in June of 2005 when he ordered the killing spree that cost the lives of over 40 young defenseless Ethiopians. This time the numbers of detainees is in the tens of thousands and the world is once again witnessing the continued genocide being perpetrated by Africa's most brutal and ruthless regime. Ethiopians have been rallying across Europe and the United States calling on lawmakers, donors and supporters of the apartheid regime, to end the violence and indiscriminate murder of their fellow Ethiopians on the streets of Addis Ababa and other towns and villages across Ethiopia.

Unfortunately, other than issuing toothless statements and commentaries, none have chosen to take action against the "client" regime in the welfare state of Ethiopia. In what can only be termed as shameful duplicity and utter disregard for human life, some members of the international community have thrown accusations at the victims of the genocidal minority regime in Ethiopia in defense of the indefensible Meles Zenawi. But there is one exception, Ms. Ana Gomez of the European Parliament.  Ms.Gomez remains the lone voice of integrity and humanity amidst the deafening silence of the democracy, human rights and freedom spreading international community. She deserves credit and applause for speaking to power and demanding action to stop the slaughter of innocent Ethiopians by the illegitimate regime led by Meles Zenawi.

While Ms. Ana Gomez stands out as the lone voice of courage amongst members of the international community, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stands out as the most vocal cheerleader and apologist for the flip flopping, deceptive, defiant, vote-rigging murderous Meles Zenawi. Kofi Annan, in a shameful devious maneuver intended to divert the attention of the Ethiopian people, evading his responsibilities to both the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia, further darkening the cloud over his credibility at the United Nations, eroding Eritrea's confidence in his ability to remain neutral, and in a futile attempt to save his friend Meles from public scrutiny, spent the week delivering exaggerated claims of impending war between Eritrea and Ethiopia

Abusing his position and resources available to his office, he went on a one man propaganda campaign against Eritrea with the hopes of diverting the issues once again on behalf of his friend Meles Zenawi. Kofi Annan released one such irresponsible and diversionary statement on 3 November 2005. It said:

"The Secretary-General is extremely concerned about reports received from the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) concerning movements of military personnel on both sides of the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) as well as irregular activities inside the Zone. Reported troop movements involve small and large military and paramilitary formations, and movement of armour as well as aerial defence assets...urges the Security Council and individual Member States to take decisive steps to defuse the escalating tension between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and stands ready to assist in this regard..."

Mr. Kofi Annan's intentions were obvious to the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia. This cheap ploy intended to provide respite for his vote-rigging friend Meles Zenawi may have worked in 1998-2000, but it will not work today. The people of Ethiopia today know better.

It should be recalled that in 1998-2000, Meles Zenawi succeeded in hoodwinking the Ethiopian people using narrow-minded nationalist Tigrayan advisers, hired mercenaries, jingoistic western journalists, and support from self-serving, selfish "diplomats", "analysts", "experts", and individuals such as Kofi Annan, David Shinn, Paul Henze and Peter Gilkes, who provided Meles Zenawi with financial, political and diplomatic support. Meles went to war on a lie, invaded sovereign Eritrean territories and caused the death of more than 120,000 Ethiopians using them as cannon fodder and minesweepers in his minority regime's aggressive war of expansion against Eritrea with the support of friends such as Kofi Annan at the UN.

Today, Kofi Annan's release of a flurry of baseless, deceptive, diversionary, shameless, not to mention irresponsible "alerts", "warnings", "calls" etc. etc. concerning Eritrea and Ethiopia has proved that he is not an honest broker for peace in Eritrea and Ethiopia. Eritreans like me have been calling on Kofi Annan to call a spade a spade and to issue accurate reports to the Security Council, but to no avail.

The recently released letters from the Government of Eritrea to the Security Council and letters written by H.E. Presidnet Isaias Afwerki to Kofi Annan clearly show the extent that Kofi Annna has abused his position and office in support of Meles Zenawi. The letters also clearly show Kofi Annan's determination to undermine the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC), the sole body mandated to demarcate the Eritrea Ethiopia border and his futile attempts to hijack the EEBC's mandate by illegally appointing Lloyd Axworthy despite Eritrea's repeated stated reservations and appeals.

In light of the fact that the Security Council based their resolutions on flawed and biased recommendations of the Secretary General and his staff, it is no wonder then that the UN Security Council has opted to adopt so many (over 17) toothless resolutions and statements on the Eritrea Ethiopia border issue. His Reports on Eritrea and Ethiopia have never accurately reflected the situation on the ground and he has instead used his Reports to advance Meles Zenawi's lawless agendas against Eritrea. In my opinion, and as I have stated several times in the past 5 years, he has long compromised his neutrality, integrity and credibility and has indeed rendered himself "irrelevant".

Kofi Annan who remained silent and did not issue a single "alert", "warning", or "call", when Meles Zenawi rejected the final and binding decision of the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC) and when he refused to cooperate with the EEBC, its demarcation directives, procedures and orders for over three years cannot feign concern today.

Kofi Annan who remained silent and did not issue a single "alert", "warning", or "call" when the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission closed shop and left the area has no legal or moral ground to be calling on Eritrea to allow UNMEE to roam freely on sovereign Eritrean territories indefinitely.

And today, Kofi Annan who has remained silent and has not issued a single "alert", "warning", or "call" to stop the genocide and massacre of Ethiopians this week by security and military forces under the command of his friend Meles Zenawi, in violation of the UN Charter and international law does not have the legal or moral grounds to speak of humanitarian issues in Eritrea or Ethiopia.

Kofi Annan's latest letter to the Security Council is another example of his obvious bias and deliberate attempt to confuse the facts. Knowing full well that the Security Council does not have any legal mandate to alter an agreement signed by two sovereign states, and knowing full well that the decision of the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission was final and binding, in his 23 October 2005 letter to the Security Council he writes:

"...after years of frustrating stalemate, it would be imperative for the Security Council - as the principal organ entrusted with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security - to address the underlying causes of the stalemate in the peace process, including those relating to the Ethiopian position on the decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission. The concerted and resolute action of the Council will be essential in bringing about the full implementation of the Algiers Agreements and restoring peace between the two countries..."

Mr. Kofi Annan, the underlying causes for the "stalemate" is Ethiopia's rejection of the final and binding EEBC decision and Ethiopia's refusal to cooperate with the EEBC's demarcation directives, orders and procedures. Ethiopia's position is a violation of the Algiers Agreement and the rule of law. Instead of calling for further time buying, unnecessary, not to mention diversionary acts of the Security Council, it is high time that Kofi Annan called on it to take appropriate punitive actions against Ethiopia, the party that is violating the rule of law, as called for in Article 14 of the Algiers Agreement which says:

"The OAU and the United Nations commit themselves to guarantee the respect for this commitment of the two Parties until the determination of the common border on the basis of pertinent colonial treaties and applicable international law... This guarantee shall be comprised of... measures to be taken by the international community should one or both of the Parties violate this commitment, including appropriate measures to be taken under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter by the UN Security Council;"

As for impending war, lets get real Mr. Kofi Annan. By militarily occupying sovereign Eritrean territories and refusing to allow the demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border, Meles Zenawi has already declared war.

Mr. Kofi Annan, neither you nor the Security Council can expect Eritreans to do nothing; remain perpetually patient and magnanimous while Eritrea's security is at risk and Eritrea's sovereignty and territorial integrity is being violated by Ethiopia and international law is eroded and while you and the Security Council refuse to shoulder your legal responsibilities and enforce the EEBC decision in full, without pre-conditions.

As you well know, Article 51 of the UN Charter recognizes Eritrea's inherent right of self-defense. Article 51 of the UN Charter clearly states the following:

"Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security"

Eritrea's inherent right to self defense is justified under international law and the UN Charter because:

-      There is an armed attack/ military occupation. Ethiopia's army is militarily occupying sovereign Eritrean territories, including Badme.

-      There is no practicable alternative or it is demonstrably unavailable. The authority, the UN Security Council, which has the legal powers to stop or prevent the infringement, has so far refused to take any appropriate punitive deterrent actions against Ethiopia. Meles has obstructed the work of the Border Commission and has refused to allow it to fulfill its sole mandate of demarcating the Eritrea Ethiopia border. As Kofi Annan knows, after waiting for Ethiopia's compliance and cooperation for over three years, the EEBC has closed shop and left the area essentially bringing any prospects for demarcation to a complete halt.

-      There is urgent necessity. There are over 70,000 Eritreans who have been forced to live in makeshift camps since the minority regime's army is militarily occupying their villages.

So you see Mr. Annan, Eritrea has the right to liberate her sovereign territories and will not seek permission or approval from those who did not fulfill their legal and moral obligations, including yourself. As for the self-created "stalemate" or "crisis", allow me to borrow from the independent Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC) October 2003 statement to remind Kofi Annan of the facts:

 "there is no "crisis", terminal or otherwise, which cannot be cured by Ethiopia's compliance with its obligation under the Algiers Agreement, in particular its obligations to treat the Commission's delimitation determination as "final and binding" (Article 4.15) and "to cooperate with the Commission, its experts and other staff in all respects during the process of ... demarcation" (Article 4.14)..."

Judging from Kofi Annan's statements and activities, it is not only Meles Zenawi that needs to be reminded of his obligations under the Algiers Agreement and international law, so allow me to borrow from EEBC's eloquent and succinct observations with this substitution to remind Kofi Annan of his obligations too:

"...there is no "crisis" or "stalemate", terminal or otherwise, which cannot be cured by Kofi Annan's compliance with his obligation under the Algiers Agreement, in particular his obligations to treat the Commission's delimitation determination as "final and binding"...by calling upon his friend Meles Zenawi to cooperate with the Commission, its experts and other staff in all respects during the process of ... demarcation" and by stopping the abuses of his "good offices" by illegally appointing Special Envoys to "create an alternative mechanism", wasting time and precious resources and endangering the peace process further...."

Lest he compromise his credibility and integrity further by acting more like the spokesperson for the beleaguered Menelik Palace thugs, then the head of the United Nations, Kofi Annan ought to respect the rule of law and agreements he personally signed and witnessed, and compel his friend Meles Zenawi to do the same.

Finally, instead of calling for more diversionary and unnecessary actions on the Eritrea Ethiopia demarcation issue, Kofi Annan ought to consider using his good offices to call for a investigation of the criminal acts perpetrated by his friend Meles Zenawi, by a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Ethiopian people. As for Ethiopia, no amount of spinning can block out the cries of the mothers and children whose loved ones were gunned down in broad daylight by Meles Zenawi's security and military forces. No amount of spin can block the cries of the battered nation of Ethiopia or her people.

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