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"If there is an "impasse" today, it is rooted on the following two causes;
1. Ethiopia's flouting of the rule of law and the Agreements it has signed; and,
2. The failure of the international community to shoulder its responsibilities and obligations.

I fail to see how this "impasse" can be overcome as long as Ethiopia continues to renege on the Agreements it has signed, flout the rule of law and indulge in fomenting endless obstructions of the process with impunity, and, as long as the international community continues to tolerate this conduct with folded arms."

Letter of President Isaias Afwerki to the Irish Foreign Minister
April 28, 2004


"We have seen in the preceding section that the Commission’s decision was fair and sound by any standard. To the Ethiopian Prime Minister, the decision is ‘illegal, unjust and irresponsible’ simply because some parts of the decision are not acceptable to Ethiopia. And that is exactly the line of reasoning presented by Clapham in his article. It is rather an elementary principle that once one has had his day in court, one cannot refuse a verdict simply because one finds it ‘unacceptable.’ Further, as a party in a case one is not allowed to cherry-pick aspects of a judicial verdict. The Ethiopian Prime Minister is cherry-picking when he rejects the allocation of Badme to Eritrea but is willing to accept the other aspects of the Commission’s decision. It does not mean that Eritrea found the Commission’s decision fully acceptable either; it could have cherry-picked Zalanbesa and the Beleza-Tserona area as ‘unacceptable,’ but did not. It fulfilled its obligation under the Algiers Agreement instead. Logic, normal international relations and international law requires acceptance of the Commission’s decision as stipulated in the terms and conditions of the Algiers Agreement, including the pledge that the decision will be final and binding, to which the parties entered willingly and in good faith."

Gebre Hiwet Tesfagiorgis

The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Decision: Ethiopian Supporter's Attempt to Deflect Mounting Pressure


"Members of the Council expressed concern about the lack of progress in the demarcation process. They reaffirmed the final and binding nature of the Boundary Commission’s decision and underlined the importance of an expeditious implementation of the decision within the framework of the Algiers Agreement. Council members expressed their disappointment about Ethiopia’s rejection of parts of the decision and its refusal to fully cooperate with the Commission. Council members, while acknowledging the cooperative attitude of the Eritrean Government towards the Commission, appealed to both parties to initiate demarcation on an expedited basis."

"... Meanwhile, a senior official of the Eritrean Foreign Ministry said that although the Security Council's decision represents a positive move, it needs to be supplemented with concrete practical action."
(Ministry of Information - Eritrea) UN Security Council expresses concern over delay in border demarcation due to Ethiopian governement's intransigence



"I have been very concerned about the lack of progress in the implementation of the Algiers Agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea despite various efforts to break the stalemate, and about the serious negative implications that this may have for relations between the two countries and the future of the region."

Secretary General Kofi A. Annan's in a Letter to President Isaias Afwerki



"... The stalemate or impasse that you alluded to in your letter has occurred simply because the international community, including your high office, has failed to take the necessary legal measures of enforcement that are warranted by the Algiers Peace Agreements.”

"The only way that we can extricate ourselves from what you have termed as stalemate or impasse is when the international community compels Ethiopia to respect its treaty obligations and the rule of law, and ensure the implementation of the Algiers Peace Agreements."

President Isaias Afwerki in a response to Secretary General Kofi Annan


"There is no use for Eritrea to continue wishing that the Security Council would impose sanction on Ethiopia and waiting for the prospect of drawing vicarious satisfaction from that. That is unlikely to happen. Not because Eritrea is not big enough to have its way, but because the idea is too crazy, and too unrealistic."

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia



"In our view, Ethiopia's leaders have assumed their lawlessness and aggressive policy because they have been emboldened by the past patterns of unjustifiable tolerance by the international community. No action was taken against Ethiopia when it violated the Moratorium on Air Strikes brokered by the United States and launched its second offensive in February 1999. No action was taken against Ethiopia when, in violation of the Technical Arrangements which were forged by the US, the European Union, the United Nations and the OAU and considered final and binding, it launched its third offensive in May 2000. Ethiopia has now achieved the apex of its record of lawlessness, contempt for the rule of law, treaty obligations and the UN charter by rejecting the final and binding decisions of an Arbitration Commission. How long shall this culture of impunity continue? When is the world going to say, "Enough is enough" and invoke article 14 of the Algiers Agreement?"


"Having reversed the aggression, Ethiopia showed its unflinching respect for principles of international law- by taking the lead to ensure the signing of the Algiers Agreement. With little hesitation, Ethiopia withdrew from territory that it has seized in a counteroffensive to expel the invading army from its territory, and to make room for the Temporary Security Zone to which UNMEE was to be deployed later."




It is to be recalled that Ethiopia declared war on Eritrea in 1998 because it claimed ownership of the sovereign Eritrean town of Badme. The ruling by an independent boundary commission setup with the consent of Ethiopia has shown without a doubt that Badme is sovereign Eritrean territory. No amount of lying can hide the fact that Ethiopia has been proven to be the aggressor.

Ethopia refused to make room for UNMEE claiming it could not allow a foreign force to occupy Ethiopian territories. Eritrea in the interest of peace has allowed UNMEE to create the entire buffer zone inside Eritrea.

The Ethiopian government did not take a lead in the signing of the Algiers Agreement. It was dragged kicking and screaming. Following is the chronology of events for 2000 around the signing of the Algiers Agreement.

June 9, 2000 The OAU presented its Proposal on Cessation of Hostilities and asked the two parties to reply within 24 hours. Eritrea announced that it had accepted proposal on the same day.

June 10, 2000 Ethiopia reported that it had opened another attack on all fronts: Guluj on the west, the Assab front and the Senafe area. Meanwhile OAU's deadline for reply to its proposal passed without Ethiopia's reply and the OAU extended the deadline by another week to accommodate Ethiopia. In a statement Ahmed Ouyahia said "We gave the two parties a one week deadline to attend a ceremony to sign the cessation of hostilities in Algiers."

June 12, 2000 Eritrea announced that it had foiled the large scale offensive on the Assab front. It said it had killed 4,125 soldiers (an actual body count), wounded 7,110 and destroyed 7 tanks. Ethiopian POWs captured in the battle invariably attested that their mission "was to capture Assab." On the Senafe front, Eritrean forces were also able to dislodge Ethiopian forces from strategic and commanding heights on the left side of the town after a daylong battle the day before. The fighting in the western part of the country between Om Hajer and Guluj continued all day on the 10th without any change in the relative positions of both sides.

June 14, 2000 Ethiopia said it accepted the OAU proposal for the cessation of hostilities.

"In the conduct of the war during the Third Offensive, Eritrean defense forces identified the two centers of gravity of the enemy, mainly Assab and approach to Asmara through Adi Quala. That is where they crushed enemy offensives and decimated its forces.  The Ethiopian troops reached their limit and were on the verge of collapse. Meles was warned by his supporter nations that an Eritrean counter attack was about to happen. A counterattack could destroy his army in Assab, with a possible collapse of the front. The consequences of such an eventuality would be disastrous in all the other fronts. Thus, contrary to conventional belief amongst Ethiopians and their supporters, it was Ethiopia and not Eritrea that was at the edge of the cliff towards the end of the last conflict. This is the secret behind Meles’ signing of the Algiers Agreement. This story is in conformity with statement made by a member of the U.S. delegation to Algiers in a meeting at Johns Hopkins University, in Washington, D. C., after the signing of the Agreement."
Eritrea’s Performance against Ethiopia in the War of 1998-2000


"The key to the crisis of the work of the Commission is its totally illegal, unjust, and irresponsible decision on Badme and parts of the Central Sector."

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's Letter to UN Security Council



Eritrea's claim for the border was based on the letter and spirit of the 1900, 1902, 1908 treaties. Ethiopia's claim on the other hand, according to Ethiopia's lawyers own admission after the EEBC ruling, was based neither on facts nor on the treaties. They had told the world that they had claimed for territory "Ethiopia had never administered for even a single day" and knowing fully well their claim was not supported by the letter and spirit of the treaties. They argued before the Commission for territory knowing fully well any variation from those Treaties was going to be new lands gained for Ethiopia. They have succeeded in that regard. Contrary to what the Ethiopian government would have you believe, according to the ruling, Ethiopia now owns Eritrean territories it didn't legally own before.

Following is an excerpt from a press conference of April 18, 2002 by lawyers who represented Ethiopia before the commission for those who can read Amharic. The full text can be found HERE.

What the Ethiopian government lost is not sovereign Ethiopian territories, but BADME - an Eritrean town, but Ethiopian government's "casus belli for the war". The Ethiopian government had falsely claimed to the world and to its people that Eritrea had invaded Badme - "a sovereign Ethiopian territory". That was the lie it had used to ignite a war and the lie has now been exposed!

The world has now learned the truth that the Badme area has always been part of Eritrea. The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission has said the boundary around Badme had long crystallized by 1935 and is binding. "The Commission also examined developments after 1935, and concluded that it could perceive nothing in that chain of developments that has had the effect of altering the boundary between the Parties". Eritrea - Ethiopia Boundary Commission OBSERVATIONS of 21 March, 2003

According to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi "[Badme] is some godforsaken village. So it's not about territory. According to the latest rendition of the Boundary Commission, Badme would be 800 meters inside Eritrea. What's 800 metres in a country as big as Ethiopia?" IRIN (October 29, 2003) ETHIOPIA: Interview with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

The truth is Badme was only a pretext for Ethiopia's minority leader's ambitions, an ambition to undo Eritrea's independence.

Behind Eritrea's Second Independence War


"Nonetheless, the Commission chose to base its decision on state practice, and having done so, it went on and awarded Badme to Eritrea despite the overwhelming evidence produced by Ethiopia proving that Badme had always been administered by Ethiopia. Eritrea could not produce even a single document to rebut Ethiopia’s submission."

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's Letter to UN Security Council



"17. The Commission also examined developments after 1935, and concluded that it could "perceive nothing in that chain of developments that has had the effect of altering the boundary between the Parties" (para 5.91). The Commission observes that its finding that the boundary under the 1902 Treaty had by 1935 crystallized along the line of the traditional signature means that the burden rested upon Ethiopia to substantiate any claimed departure from that line on the basis of conduct that would serve to show that Badme village (which lies close to the line) was subject to Ethiopian control. The Commission referred specifically in the Delimitation Decision (paras 5.92-5.95) to the evidence produced by Ethiopia. It noted in particular that Ethiopia had introduced no evidence in its opening pleading (its Memorial) of governmental activities west of that straight line; although it produced some evidence in its Counter Memorial, it did not add to or develop this in its Reply.

Moreover, maps submitted by Ethiopia were inconsistent as to the location of Badme village. Overall, the evidence was nothing like what might have been expected had Ethiopia’s presence there in the period before the case been as significant as Ethiopia now alleges. The Commission would note that what is relevant here is governmental and not private activity. The references to Ethiopian governmental control of Badme and its environs were insufficient to persuade the Commission that an Ethiopian presence west of the line from Points 6 to 9 would support a departure from the line that had crystallized by 1935. "

"18. This conclusion followed from the inadequacy of Ethiopia’s evidence. Since Badme village (as opposed to some other parts of the Badme region) lay on what was found to be the Eritrean side of the treaty line, there was no need for the Commission to consider any evidence of Eritrean governmental presence there, although Eritrea did in fact submit such evidence. Moreover, even some maps submitted by Ethiopia not only showed the distinctive straight line between the Setit and Mareb Rivers, but also marked Badme village as being on the Eritrean side of that line. ..."

Ethiopia Boundary Commission OBSERVATIONS of 21 March, 2003
[Published as an addendum to the Progress Report of the UN Secretary-General, UN Doc. S/2003/257 of 6 March, 2003]

FICTION: "The boundary issue is to be settled peacefully and the only way to settle the problem peacefully is through dialogue."

ETHIOPIA: Interview with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, IRIN (October 29, 2003)



The Ethiopian government had its chance for dialogue between 1994 and 1997. The minority led government in Ethiopia did everything it could to frustrate peace and dialogue by demanding it get its way or else. Read: Events Leading to the May 6 Incident at Badme

Failing to get it's way through dialog, Ethiopian troops fired and shot on an Eritrean platoon on routine duty along the border around Badme killing several of its members. This triggered off a chain reaction on both sides. Soon after on May 13, 1998, the Ethiopian Parliament declared war on Eritrea.

The world community pressured the Ethiopian government to settle the dispute through dialogue. Accordingly, all of the proposals, Framework Agreement, OAU's Modalities, OAU's Technical Arrangments, prohibited the use of force and called for a peaceful settlement of the dispute. Notwithstanding the above agreements, the Ethiopian government launched yet another offensive on Eritrea on May 12, 2000 hoping to get it's way through the use of force. But that too did not work. It was forced to sign the June 18, 2000 Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities and the December 12, 2000 Algeries agreement.

In the end, the case went to the highest court in the world - Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague which rendered its final and binding decision on April 13, 2002. At first, Ethiopia declared the decision fair and just and called for an immediate implementation. Not long after that, it wanted to change the decision. The commission refused. Now, when it couldn't get its way in the court, it is claiming "the Commission has been arbitrary in its decision as well as illegal, unjust and irresponsible." This after extending its regards to the "Commission for discharging its duties with a sense of responsibility and great care" just a few month earlier.

The truth is, Ethiopia had it's chance for dialogue initiated and encouraged by Eritrea, war declared by Minority lead government in Addis Ababa, and final and binding arbitration sponsored and guaranteed by the international community. It is now time to work for a lasting peace. It is time for DEMARCATION.


"First of all we do not believe that the Boundary Commission decision is proper and legal. It is contrary to the mandate that they have been given. And the indications are that some in the Boundary Commission have become both plaintiffs and judges. And so the Boundary Commission is clearly part of the problem now..."

ETHIOPIA: Interview with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, IRIN (October 29, 2003)



"Ethiopia has no facts to challenge the Commission on the April 2002 Decision, legal or otherwise. It had failed miserably to convince the Commission of its case in the Western as well as the Central Sectors. This is precisely why it has now opted to defame and declare war on the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC).

I don't think we can emphasize enough if we remind the world that two of these Commissioners are Ethiopia's own nominees: Prince Bola Adesumbo Ajibola and Sir Arthur Watts. It had also an indirect hand in choosing the third: the President of the Commission, Professor Sir Elihu Lauterpacht). Not only these three, since it had objected to one of Eritrea's two nominees, Mr. Jan Paulsson, who chose to resign, though the other members of the Commission didn't find merit in Ethiopia's objections, one can say Ethiopia had also an indirect role in selecting the fourth member of the Commission, Professor W. Michael Reisman. So here we have it; the Commission is composed of four out five members that are directly or indirectly chosen by Ethiopia. Does it then make sense to blame a Commission of becoming "both plaintiffs and judges" when you had a hand in choosing 80% of its members? It doesn't. Are you puzzled? If you do, then welcome to the world of the current Ethiopian Regime. Nothing it does or says has or makes sense. "

Fabrication: A Trademark of the Ethiopian Regime


"SRSG: If demarcation doesn't start in October of course it leaves us where we are. It means we are where we are. All along, whatever we have achieved we have achieved despite the fact that the Parties are not talking. We demarcated the Temporary Security Zone, they were not talking--with the TSZ they were talking through the MCC. There are many things that we have done and they were not talking to each other. They released prisoners of war, they weren't talking to each other. They accepted the decision of the Boundary Commission, they were not talking to each other. The last time they talked to each other.... I don't even know when they were negotiating the agreements whether it was by proximity talks because I was not there yet. Therefore the demarcation can start in the East as the Boundary Commission has decided whether they are talking to each other or not."

"Q [from Addis Ababa]: Is it possible to have the demarcation if the two Parties aren't talking to each other? "

"... So in other words the boundary can be demarcated even if the political leadership doesn't talk to each other, as long as the people they assign to the demarcators talk to each other, which they do."

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE),
Ambassador Legwaila Joseph Legwaila

UNMEE media briefing notes 31 Jul 2003

FICTION: "Pending completion of the demarcation process, the mutual commitment by both parties to resolving their boundary problems peacefully will make it possible, if the international community so wishes for financial reasons, to expedite the departure of UNMEE."

Prime Minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi in a letter to the UN Security Council



"Because as I say the peacekeeping is successful, but the success of the peacekeeping is nothing without the demarcation of the border because the source of the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea is the demarcation of the border. In other words there can no be peace process without the demarcation of the border."

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), Ambassador Legwaila Joseph Legwaila


[IRIN]: But they [Eritreans] are now legally entitled to Badme.

[Prime Minister Meles Zenawi]: They are not. The demarcation process has not started. And so the legal peaceful process has not been consummated. Nobody has the right to take a short cut.

ETHIOPIA: Interview with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
IRIN October 29, 2003



"The Parties have agreed however, in Article 4.15 of the Algiers Agreement, that the boundary between the two countries is the boundary as delimited by the Commission." As such, Eritrea is now legally entitled to Badme.

EEBC's Statement in response to the Ethiopian Prime Minister's letter



APRIL 2002

…“The Government of Ethiopia would like to take this opportunity to extend its regards to the Boundary Commission for discharging its duties with a sense of responsibility and great care. The Government of Ethiopia would also like to express its strong interest in the speedy demarcation of the boundary."

Statement issued by the Council of Ministers of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia regarding the decision given by the Boundary Commission in The Hague.
Addis Ababa, 13 April 2002




"This is why Ethiopia has been insisting that the Commission has been arbitrary in its decision as well as illegal, unjust and irresponsible."

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia October 2003



"Despite the veneer of normalcy in the work of the Boundary Commission, I am afraid the work of the Commission is in terminal crisis."

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in a letter to the Security Council (September 19, 2003 )



"The Commission does not accept that assessment: 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)."

EEBC's Statement in response to the Ethiopian Prime Minister's letter ( October 7, 2003)



[Ofeibea Quist-Arcton] Not so very long ago, there were reports that Ethiopian soldiers had played football across the border, causing a bit of a diplomatic rumpus. The Eritreans called it a violation of the ceasefire. Wasn't it provocation?

[Prime Minister Meles Zenawi] Oh come on! These types of mess-ups happen all the time. What I can tell you is that the ceasefire that we agreed, that we signed with the Eritreans, six months before the United Nations' mission was in place, was scrupulously observed by both parties. And this was six months before the observer troops were in place and at a time when the two armies (of Ethiopia and Eritrea) were separated by a distance of 200 metres. So there is no serious violation of the ceasefire agreement and there won't be; not, at least, from our side.

allAfrica.com INTERVIEW September 30, 2003 "Meles Defends Demand for New Ruling on Border With Eritrea"



These types of "mess-ups" happen only because the Ethiopian government refuses to respect international law. Ethiopia's "mess-ups" in the temporary security zone include ongoing kidnapping of people, transgression of the Temporary Security Zone, murders, and planting of fresh landmines to mention a few. In addition, the incident in question happened in August 2003 two years after UNMEE has been deployed. UNMEE was deployed in September 2000.

"These three incidents were considered by UNMEE to be violations of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and were protested, and dealt with both at the local and higher levels of the Ethiopian authorities."
UNMEE media briefing notes 14 Aug 2003