"Ethiopia: Where A Peace Process is not a Peace Deal"
Berhane Seyoum
March 9, 2003

For Eritreans and Ethiopians who hoped that the end of this border saga was in sight, last week the Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi delivered them another blow. Meles declared, " If the commission failed to stick to the facts, it would cause a lot of problems."(1) He, continued to say that the commission indeed has already given Badme to Ethiopia. Meles, obviously, is hoping to imitate G.W. Bush who declared that the "UN would have to agree with the US conclusion for face irrelevance." Up your face, give me my way or else type of politics, that is.

In Meles's imitated world, the UN is as relevant as it gets him his way. International law is as good its ability to deliver his interest and it would be unto the international community to bend the rules to fit his will. The UN had been praised ad infinitum, when it served Weyane's interest, to suffocation. Every year of the conflict they had declared it. In 1998 the Ethiopian FM declared, "Ethiopia has accepted the recommendations submitted by the Facilitators, the OAU and the UN Security Council resolutions" (2.) In 1999, it even went further and accused Eritrea of not carrying out OAU instructions by saying "However, it accused Eritrea of doing little to implement the OAU plan."(3) The spin was clear; Eritrea is belligerent, Ethiopia is compliant with every international law and declaration. But, the Weyane Modus Operandi always had a darker side whenever time of reckoning arrived. Whenever it was asked to deliver on its acceptance, it wavered, asked for clarifications, and coined new excuses until the UN bent to give it its way. When Eritrea publicly asked Ethiopia to deliver on the OAU deal, Ethiopia came up with "Ethiopia's Concerns With Regard to the Technical Arrangements"(4). No problem responded the international community and zapped out another "deal". "Final" and "Binding" gave way to the "Non-paper" that suited Ethiopian request. Of course, now again, it was unto Eritrea to agree to the "New deal." Eritrea, of course, complied. The International community slapped itself on the back, and claimed total success. Peacekeepers where deployed and the conflict was quickly forgotten, Not for long, though, before the peace loving, law-abiding Ethiopia was going to have its day when the Hague Verdict was passed. Ethiopian Spin doctors were on overdrive, claiming compliance to the decision, and of course announcing the decision was to deliver Badme. That euphoria never lasted the weekend, when coordinates showed that Badme was west of the border. It was time for the other Ethiopia, again. "Ethiopia Request For Interpretation, Correction And Consultation"(5), was tabled. This time, the international community wises up and actually interprets the law and responds negatively. The UN even dared to set a date for May to start the physical demarcation.

The Weyane, obviously are taken back, realizing that there are actually laws that would not bend to their demand. They have decided that need to threaten the UN with "lots of trouble" if it does not comply. How else do you teach the UN to produce the "right" answers? They have openly now declared that they accept the peace process but not the peace, by saying "we will reject certain segments of the peace deal."(6)

It is only in the minds of the Ethiopian leaders that the thought of accepting a peace plan without accepting the peace plan can be entertained. I give it to them, they are imaginative. It is time the UN found its spine and brought them back to reality.

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2003 Dehai Eritrea Online