Welcome to Tigrai Online,      Daily News that matters

Is Ethiopia saying the Algiers Agreement is null and void?

Tigrai Onlne - January 28, 2014

Early this month two top American diplomats; Ambassador David Shinn and Herman Jay "Hank" Cohen, the former United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs started talking about bringing Eritrea from the cold. There have been a number of responses to their idea in many Ethiopian websites. Including one great analysis by Dr. Ghelawdewos Araia on Tigrai Online

Every Ethiopian is wondering even some from the Ethiopian opposition, why on earth do those two top American diplomats want to rescue a dying brutal regime? The Eritrean regime is being abandoned by it’s people. The United Security Council has tight sanctions which are chocking the dictatorial regime’s economy. All Eritrea’s neighboring countries are practically at war with it because of it’s continuous support to terrorists and rebel groups. The Eritrean army is in disarray only existing with empty containers. Then we can safely conclude it will not be long time before the destabilizing Eritrean regime will collapse on itself. The question now is why bring up the idea of saving the regime and why now?

The Ethiopian government through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its view on the issue.

In an article titled “Eritrea “in from the cold” needs real policy changes by Eritrea’s government” http://www.mfa.gov.et/weekHornAfrica/morewha.php?wi=1301, the Ethiopian government listed all the crimes of the Eritrean regime for the past decade. It seems the Ethiopian government has finally taken a clear stand on the Algiers Agreement calling it “effectively null and void”.

As part of the above article the Ethiopia Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “Eritrea began its efforts to underline the Algiers Agreements prior to 2002, and subsequently ignored Ethiopia’s acceptance of the EEBC Decisions in November 2004. Ethiopia had originally raised some concerns over the EEBC Decisions, but after failing to get satisfaction for these, it made it clear it was prepared to proceed to demarcation in conformity with international practice, and consistent with the Algiers Agreements and their aim of bringing about sustainable peace and the normalization of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea. However, as soon as Ethiopia accepted the EEBC Decisions, Eritrea openly began to flout the Algiers Agreements, persistently violating the TSZ and imposing restrictions on UNMEE. By 2007, the UN Secretary General noted in a report to the Security Council that the Eritrean troops that had illegally entered the Transitional Security Zone in October 2006, not for the first time, had remained, and that Eritrea had also deployed additional troops accompanied by tanks and heavy armament. He described Eritrea’s restrictions on UNMEE as representing “a serious violation of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities of 18 June 2000, the 2001 Protocol Agreement of 17 June 2001 concluded between Eritrea and UNMEE, and relevant Security Council resolutions When these activities met with no more than mild verbal criticism from the Security Council, it steadily expanded its activities until it had taken over the whole TSZ, rendering the Algiers Agreements, including the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, effectively null and void. The Security Council did pass a number of resolutions demanding Eritrea remove all restrictions on UNMEE, but it took any action and in February 2008 the situation reached a point where UNMEE, humiliatingly, was forced to withdraw.

Even though it is late we think this is a great decision by the Ethiopian government. The Algiers Agreement should have been declared Null and void as soon as the Eritrean regime kicked out the UNMEE peace keeping force.

Now all signed documents related to the Algiers Agreement including the border demarcation agreements should be considered void.

If there is going to be any talk between Ethiopia and Eritrea it has to start from square one.