To: Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the UN
We, the undersigned, are strongly opposed to the border demarcation between Ethiopia and Eritrea currently undertaken by the Border Commission of the UN. The Ethiopian government has neither the trust of the Ethiopian people nor the moral fortitude to carry out border negotiations. The Ethiopian people were against the Technical Arrangement and the Algiers Agreement since these documents unfolded amidst the war against Eritrean invasion of Ethiopian territory.
The Algiers Agreement stipulates the boundary demarcation based on colonial border treaties. In addition to the insinuation of ceding the Assab Territory to Eritrea, the Agreement in terms of the colonial border treaties never makes the distinction to the undisputed Ethiopian lands prviously invaded by Eritrea in 1998. The border treaties between Ethiopia and Italy referred to in the Agreement are legally unbinding for two reasons: first, the treaties of 1900, 1902, and 1908 signed by Ethiopia under duress were never enforced besides the fact that Italy cannot be referred as a party to this Agreement; second, Italy renounced its rights by a treaty signed in Paris on February 10, 1947 under the aegis of the Four Powers (USA, UK, USSR, and France). History also notes the border treaties were broken by the Italian Fascist invasion of Ethiopia in 1935, even before it relinquished its claim in the February 10 treaty.
Another historical prevalence is Eritrea's reintegration with Ethiopia by the December 2, 1950 United Nations resolution of 390A (V). Such fundamental historical changes render Italian colonialism or its treaties irrelevant to the determination of political boundaries between what is now Eritrea and Ethiopia. As these historical and legal documents refute the Algiers document to have any validity, committing the same document to resolving the border dispute is tantamount to resurrecting colonial ideals to award the former Italian colony a land Fascist Italy could not secure through its recurring invasions of Ethiopia. Consequently, the border negotiation currently conducted secretly from the Ethiopian public has become a reason for all Ethiopians to question the legitimacy and motives behind the arbitration.
At the center of the border crisis is the government of Prime Minister Meles Zienawi. The border war with Eritrea and a dispute particularly on the Algiers Agreement ultimately led to the breakup of his ruling party and its leadership. The Prime Minsiter could not escape the allegations of treason leveled against him by his former opponents within his ruling party and the Ethiopian people for the causes underlying the invasion of their country and the tremendous human loss as well as human rights violations by Eritrea. Mr. Zienawi expelled and imprisoned these publicly elected officials unconstitutionally from their positions in April 2001 in an attempt to thwart the serious allegations. Succeeding in suppressing all forms of political opposition, Mr. Zienawi's government is in the process of ceding land many Ethiopians shed their blood to free from the invading Eritrean army. To this day, his government also evaded securing Ethiopia's right to the Assab Territory since the secession of Eritrea from Ethiopia in 1991. To the dismay of many Ethiopians, the present government reveresed its previous decision to settle the border dispute in an international court and opted instead for negotiation, leaving no room for legal provision or justification.
Given the historical, legal and political facts, the Algiers Agreement or its outcome in the border settlement cannot be legally binding to Ethiopia or resolve its political and border crisis with Eritrea. We believe the UN and the parties actively involved in the border agreement should not be the cause to a non-ending cycle of conflict and humanitarian crisis between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
We call urgently on Mr. Kofi Annan to stop the border demarcation and allow the Ethiopian people to have a say in the formation of an independent body overseeing the border demarcation and finally decide the border settlement by means of referendum.
This is not the first time Ethiopia looked upon the UN for justice, even though the Ethiopian people always fought justly and won to protect what is theirs. We all peace-loving people hope justice does not once again fall captive to the circumstances Ethiopia confronted the League of Nations with the truth at the height of the colonial era.
|I have read the petition to the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, to stop the border demarcation between Ethiopia and Eritrea and I hereby sign the petition:|
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