UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
East Africa: Horn Conflict, 1
Date distributed (ymd): 980707
Document reposted by APIC
Region: East Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+
This posting contains a background update from the UN's Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) in Nairobi, the text of the Security Council resolution on the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and a Pan African News Agency summary of the US/Rwanda peace plan.The next posting contains position statements from the two governments and notes on sources for additional information on-line.
ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: New peace efforts amid claims of civilian abuses
NAIROBI, 3 July 1998 (IRIN)A team of African diplomats under the auspices of the OAU left Addis Ababa for Asmara in renewed peace efforts this week, news agencies reported. The group represents the four-nation team mandated by the OAU summit on 10 June in Ouagadougou. The OAU-mandated mediation mission which ended on 19 June failed to break the deadlock and did not succeed in advancing the US-Rwanda peace plan which included a call for Eritrean forces to withdraw. Rwanda yesterday announced its withdrawal from the team to try to break the deadlock,news agencies report.
A UN source told IRIN today the original team's room for manoeuvre was "limited" by the OAU's endorsement of the US-Rwanda plan. It is as yet unclear what new proposals the current mission carries. Another mediation effort from Democratic Republic of Congo leader Laurent-Desire Kabila on Friday was also fruitless, news agencies said. Ethiopia has reiterated its insistence on the four-point US-Rwanda plan, while the Eritrean Assembly last week repeated Asmara's proposals for demilitarising the border area and beginning direct talks between the two sides. New initiatives by the governments of Libya and the Netherlands was reported by media in recentdays but no further details are yet available.
The UN Security Council on Friday condemned the use of force in the dispute between the two former allies and demanded an immediate cessation of hostilities.The resolution (1177) also supported the OAU's efforts to defuse the crisis and called on both parties to take confidence-building steps such as "guaranteeing the rights and safety of each other's nationals". AFP reports suggest only two minor clashes have taken place since 11 June.
However, while actual conflict seems to be on hold, little visible progress has been made in bringing Ethiopia and Eritrea back from the brink of renewed conflict, and the war of words conducted in the media shows no signs of letting up.
In the humanitarian sphere, the focus in both countries has been on displacement and the treatment of expatriate civilians. An unknown number of Eritrean civilians have been displaced from their homes within Eritrea, while two UN inter-agency teams assessed the situation in the clash-hit Tigray and Afar regions last week. UN sources told IRIN it was hard to establish exact numbers of displaced people, as people are being taken care of in communities, but that people were still moving out of their areas. Most of the Ethiopian displaced people have been housed in local communities as the government is opposed to the creation of camps, humanitarian sources say. The official 'Ethiopian Herald' however reported that makeshift camps had been set up in some areas. Host communities and social services are under stress in coping with the influx of displaced. The international humanitarian community is expected to give only a "measured" response to needs in Ethiopia, given the extensive response of local communities and institutions, sources close to the team told IRIN.
The Eritrean government has again protested against the alleged mistreatment of its civilians in Ethiopia, while Ethiopia makes similar protests about expulsions, detentions and confiscation of property of Ethiopians in Eritrea. Eritrea's ambassador to the UN on 15 June called for humanitarian intervention to protect the "safety and well-being" of Eritreans in Ethiopia, claiming that thousands of Eritreans were being rounded up.
Another inter-agency assessment is planned to leave Asmara to check on the humanitarian situation in the country. Two inter-agency UN teams are to assess the humanitarian situation in Eritrea, visiting the contested Zala Anbessa and Badme areas this weekend. Eritrea is unlikely to make any early appeal for international assistance for an unknown number of displaced people within its borders, UN sources say.
A spokesman at the Ethiopian embassy in Nairobi this week claimed that 600 Ethiopians were being held in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, while 4,000 had been expelled. An Eritrean news agency statement, received by IRIN yesterday alleges that 6,000 Eritreans have been expelled, and over 1,000 are in detention in Ethiopia. An ICRC spokesperson told IRIN today that the organization has regular access to interned Eritrean civilians and prisoners of war in Ethiopia. She added that requests for access to Ethiopian detainees or prisoners of war in Eritrea had not yet been successful.
Humanitarian sources stressed to IRIN today that it was important not to lose sight of ongoing humanitarian needs in Ethiopia, in particular the fate of four million people faced with serious food shortages.
A senior aid worker told IRIN today humanitarian assistance could be potentially beneficial for the overall economy, but "nobody wants to support the war effort". He stressed the situation was currently under control, but there was a risk of continued or increased displacement as well as disruption to ongoing drough-related relief operations.The capabilities and experience of both governments in managing relief efforts means that a big international presence is unlikely, aid workers said. Support for the war-displaced would be more a case of "plugging the gaps", one relief official told IRIN.
[The material contained in this communication comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. UN IRIN Tel: +254 2 622123 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail: email@example.com for more information or subscriptions. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. IRIN reports are archived on the WWW at: http://www.reliefweb.int/emergenc or can be retrieved automatically by sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mailing list: irin-cea-weekly]
Sec. Council Urges Ethiopia, Eritrea To Achieve Peace
June 29, 1998
>From UN Web Site (http://www.un.org)
United Nations - Expressing grave concern at the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea and its implication for the region, the Security Council this afternoon urged the two States to exhaust all means to achieve a peaceful settlement of their border dispute.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1177 (1998), the Council condemned the use of force and demanded that the parties refrain from its further use and to immediately cease hostilities. It welcomed their commitment to a moratorium on the threat of and use of air strikes.
The Council called upon the parties to avoid any steps which would aggravate tensions, such as provocative actions or statements, and to take steps to build confidence between them, including guaranteeing the rights and safety of each other's nationals.
It expressed strong support for the decision of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on 10 June 1998 to dispatch a mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea (embodied in document S/1998/494), and called upon the two countries to cooperate fully with the organization. The Council urged the OAU to follow up as quickly as possible. (By that decision, the OAU Assembly dispatched a delegation of heads of State and government of the member States of the Central Organ of OAU Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, led by the current OAU Chairman, to Ethiopia and Eritrea for talks on the conflict.)
By other terms of today's resolution, the Council asked the Secretary-General to make available his good offices in support of a peaceful resolution of the conflict and said it stood ready to consider further recommendations to that end. The Secretary-General was also to provide technical support to Ethiopia and Eritrea to assist in the eventual delimitation and demarcation of their common border. Towards that end, the Council established a trust fund and urged all Member States to contribute to it.
The meeting, which was called to order at 12:40 p.m., was adjourned at 12:45 p.m.
The text of the resolution is as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Expressing grave concern at the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, its political, humanitarian and security implications for the region, and its effect on the civilian populations there,
"Affirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia and Eritrea,
"Affirming the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes and stressing that the use of armed force is not acceptable as a means of addressing territorial disputes or changing circumstances on the ground,
"Noting that the official statements by the Government of Ethiopia and the Government of Eritrea pledging to discontinue the threat of and use of air strikes in the conflict have contributed to the continuation of the efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflict, reduced the threat to the civilian populations as well as the economic and social infrastructure, and enabled the resumption of normal economic activity, including commercial transportation,
"Noting the strong traditional ties between Ethiopia and Eritrea,
"Welcoming the official statements by the Government of Ethiopia and the Government of Eritrea that they share the ultimate goal of delimiting and demarcating their common border on the basis of a mutually agreeable and binding arrangement, taking into account the Charter of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), colonial treaties, and international law applicable to such treaties,
"Noting the resolution adopted by the Council of Ministers of the OAU in special session on 5 June 1998 (S/1998/485),
"Commending the efforts of the OAU and of others, in cooperation with the OAU, to achieve a peaceful settlement of the conflict,
"1. Condemns the use of force and demands that both parties immediately cease hostilities and refrain from further use of force;
"2. Welcomes the commitment of the parties to a moratorium on the threat of and use of air strikes;
"3. Urges the parties to exhaust all means to achieve a peaceful settlement of the dispute;
"4. Expresses its strong support for the decision of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the OAU on 10 June 1998 (S/1998/494) as well as for the mission and efforts of the Heads of State of the OAU and urges the OAU to follow up as quickly as possible;
"5. Calls upon the parties to cooperate fully with the OAU;
"6. Also calls upon the parties to avoid any steps which would aggravate tensions such as provocative actions or statements and to take steps to build confidence between them including by guaranteeing the rights and safety of each other's nationals;
"7. Requests the Secretary-General to make available his good offices in support of a peaceful resolution of the conflict and stands ready to consider further recommendations to this end;
"8. Requests the Secretary-General to provide technical support to the parties to assist in the eventual delimitation and demarcation of the common border between Ethiopia and Eritrea and, for this purpose, establishes a Trust Fund and urges all Member States to contribute to it; and
"9. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
26 June 1998
Four-Point Proposals To Resolve Ethiopia-Eritrea Dispute
June 5, 1998
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (PANA) - Following is the summary of the Rwanda-United States recommendations to defuse the border conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia:
1. Both parties should commit themselves to the following principles: resolving this and any other dispute between them by peaceful means -- renouncing force as a means of imposing solutions -- agreeing to undertake measures to reduce current tensions -- and seeking the final disposition of their common border, on the basis of established colonial treaties and international law applicable to such treaties.
2. To reduce current tensions, and without prejudice to the territorial claims of either party: a small observer mission should be deployed to Badme. Eritrean forces should redeploy from Badme to positions held before May 6. The previous civilian administration should return and there should be an investigation into the events of May 6.
3. To achieve lasting resolution of the underlying border dispute, both parties should agree to the swift and binding delimitation and demarcation of the Eritrea-Ethiopia border. Border delimitation should be determined on the basis of established colonial treaties and international law applicable to such treaties, and the delimitation and demarcation process should be completed by a qualified technical team as soon as possible. The demarcated border should be accepted and adhered to by both parties, and, upon completion of demarcation, the legitimate authorities assume jurisdication over their respective sovereign territories.
4. Both parties should demilitarize the entire common border as soon as possible.
For additional PANA dispatches see the PANA Web Site (http://www.africanews.org/pana).
East Africa: Horn Conflict, 2 Date distributed (ymd): 980707 Document reposted by APIC
Region: East Africa Issue Areas: +security/peace+ Summary Contents: This posting contains statements of the position of the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments on the current conflict, plus notes on sources for additional information on-line. The previous posting contains a background update from the UN's Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) in Nairobi, and the text of the Security Council resolution on the conflict.
Additional On-Line Sources
Note: The Africa Policy Electronic Distribution List, with only two to three postings a week on a variety of subjects, cannot supply current news on breaking stories. We will, however, continued to provide occasional listings of other sources available on-line (such as those below) which provide more frequent updates for those interested in particular subjects.
Newsflashes from Ethiopian Embassy in Washington
Eritrean Government Home Page
Addis Tribune on-line edition
Africa News Online
The Washington Post Africa Page
BBC News Africa
CNN Africa Page
23 Jun 1998
Background to the Current Border Dispute Between Eritrea and Ethiopia
>From the Embassy of Eritrea, Washington, DC
1. The crisis between Eritrea and Ethiopia is rooted in the violation by the Government of Ethiopia of Eritrea's colonial boundaries, and to willfully claim, as well as physically occupy, large swathes of Eritrean territory in the southwestern, southern and southeastern parts of the country. This violation is made manifest in the official map issued in 1997 as well as the map of Ethiopia embossed in the new currency notes of the country that came into circulation in November 1997.
2. Ethiopia went further than laying claims on paper to create a de facto situation on the ground. The first forcible act of creating facts on the ground occurred in July 1997 when Ethiopia, under the pretext of fighting the Afar opposition, brought two battalions to Bada (Adi Murug) in southwestern Eritrea to occupy the village and dismantle the Eritrean administration there. This unexpected development was a cause of much concern to the Government of Eritrea. Eritrea's Head of State subsequently sent a letter to the Ethiopian Prime Minister on August 16, 1997, reminding him that "the forcible occupation of Adi Murug" was "truly saddening." He further urged him to "personally take the necessary prudent action so that the measure that has been taken will not trigger unnecessary conflict." A week later, on August 25, 1997, the Eritrean Head of State again wrote to the Prime Minister stressing that measures similar to those in Bada were taken in the Badme (southwestern Eritrea) area and suggesting that a Joint Commission be set up to help check further deterioration and create a mechanism to resolve the problem.
3. Unfortunately, Eritrean efforts to solve the problem amicably and bilaterally failed as the Government of Ethiopia continued to bring under its occupation the Eritrean territories that it had incorporated into its map. Our worst fears were to be realized when on May 6, 1998, on the eve of the second meeting of the Joint Border Commission, the Ethiopian army launched an unexpected attack on Eritrean armed patrols in the Badme area claiming that they had transgressed on areas that Ethiopia had newly brought under its control. This incident led to a series of clashes which, coupled with the hostile measures that were taken by the Government of Ethiopia, resulted in the present state of war between the two countries.
4. Ethiopia's unilateral re-drawing of the colonial boundary and flagrant acts of creating facts on the ground are the essential causes of the current crisis. In light of these facts, Ethiopia's claims that it is the victim of aggression are obviously false and meant to deceive the international community. Indeed, Ethiopia to this day occupied Eritrean territories in the Setit area in the southwestern part of the country.
5. Ethiopia's blatant act of aggression is clearly in violation of the OAU Charter and Resolution AHG/RES 16(1) of the First Assembly of the Heads of State and Government held in Cairo in 1964. Unless rectified without equivocation, Ethiopia's refusal to abide by the OAU Charter and decisions, and its continued occupation of undisputed Eritrean territory will open a Pandora's box and create a cycle of instability in the region. The acceptance of Ethiopia's logic will not only affect all African States but will indeed backfire against Ethiopia itself, since its sovereignty over much of its territory, including on the Ogaden, is based on the same principles of international law.
6. A simple border dispute has assumed this level of conflict because of Ethiopia's continued escalation of its hostile and provocative acts. Among these are:
* the declaration of war by Ethiopia's Parliament on May 13, 1998;
* the launching of an air-strike by Ethiopia on June 5, 1998, on Asmara;
* the imposition of an air blockade and maritime access blockade to Eritrean ports through the threat of incessant and indiscriminate air bombing;
* the mass expulsion and indiscriminate arrests of thousands of Eritreans from Ethiopia.
7. In spite of all these, Eritrea has been restrained and committed to a peaceful solution of the dispute. In this vein, it has already presented constructive proposals (attached). The proposals center on:
i) the demarcation of the entire boundary between the two countries on the basis of borders established by colonial treaties;
ii) the demilitarization of the entire border area pending demarcation; and,
iii) the establishment of appropriate ad hoc arrangements for civil administration in populated demilitarized areas in the interim period.
In addition, considering the state of war that exists between the two countries, the Government of Eritrea has been calling--and continues to call--for:
i) an immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities; and,
ii) the start of direct talks between the two parties in the presence of mediators.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Asmara, June 19, 1998
Proposal for a Solution Submitted by the Government of Eritrea
The Government of Eritrea and the Government of Ethiopia agree that they will resolve the present crisis and any other dispute between them through peaceful and legal means. Both sides reject solutions that are imposed by force.
Both sides agree to respect the clearly defined colonial boundaries between them. In this respect, both sides further agree that the actual demarcation of the borders will be carried out by a mutually acceptable technical team. In the event that there is some controversy on delineation, both sides agree to resolve the matter through an appropriate mechanism of arbitration.
The demarcation of the borders shall be effected speedily and within an agreed time frame.
Both sides agree to be bound by this agreement.
2. IMPLEMENTATION MODALITIES
2.1 The UN Cartographic Unit, or any other body with the appropriate expertise, shall be charged with the task of demarcating the boundary in accordance with existing colonial border treaties.
2.2 The time frame for the demarcation of the boundary shall be six months. This time frame may be shortened or prolonged subject to justifiable technical reasons. This requisite time frame shall be designated as AN INTERIM PERIOD.
2.3 The demarcated boundary shall be accepted and adhered to by both sides.
2.4 If there are segments in the boundary whose delineation is under controversy, the matter shall be resolved through an appropriate mechanism of ARBITRATION.
2.5 The technical details relevant to the practical implementation of the DEMARCATION process shall be annexed to the agreement.
3. DEMILITARIZATION as a measure for defusing the crisis and expediting the demarcation of the borders so as to ensure a lasting solution shall be accepted and adhered to by both sides.
3.1 DEMILITARIZATION shall begin by the Mereb-Setit segment; proceed next to the Bada area and be implemented throughout the entire boundary in accordance with this phased pattern.
3.2 DEMILITARIZATION shall be implemented through the involvement and monitoring of observers. The team of observers shall be composed of the forces and commanders from the facilitators as well as representatives of both sides.
3.3 DEMILITARIZATION shall be completed within the time frame of one month.
3.4 The issue of civil administration in populated demilitarized areas shall be addressed through appropriate ad hoc arrangements that will be put in place for the interim period.
3.5 When the INTERIM period comes to an end following the completion of the demarcation of the entire boundary between the two countries, the LEGITIMATE AUTHORITIES shall regain full jurisdiction over their respective SOVEREIGN TERRITORIES.
3.6 The details regarding DEMILITARIZATION and its implementation modalities shall be included in the main agreement as an annex.
4.0 A full INVESTIGATION of the incident of May 6, 1998, shall be conducted in tandem with the demilitarization process.
5.0 This COMPREHENSIVE agreement, signed by both parties,
shall be deposited in the UN and OAU as a legal agreement
so as to ensure its binding nature.
on security council resolution
and eritrea's response ------- yes, but
From: Embassy of Ethiopia in Stockholm, Sweden
30 June, 1998
It must have been very obvious to all those who have been following the crisis imposed on Ethiopia by the Eritrean authorities through their aggression, that Ethiopia's preferred option for resolving the crisis has been, and remains to be, the peaceful way. This, despite its prerogative under international law to exercise its legitimate right of self-defense.
Ethiopia's unequivocal acceptance of the U.S-Rwanda proposal is a confirmation of this Ethiopian commitment to peace and its resolve to seeking a peaceful resolution of the military confrontation. Ethiopia's full and unreserved acceptance of the proposal by the facilitators should, in this context, be understood for what it really means. Ethiopia accepted the proposal not because it has no quarrel with everything contained in the proposal---a fact that can easily be overlooked---but because peace demanded that Ethiopia must do whatever is necessary, short of accepting that which would reward the aggressor and humiliate Ethiopia and its people.
On Eritrea's part, its response to the peace initiative was negative from the outset. It refused to co-operate with the facilitators who happened to be mutual friends of the two countries and whose good offices were accepted by both, willingly and with no reservation. Eritrea refused the proposal by the facilitators for one reason only, because it failed to give blessing to Eritrea's illegal occupation through aggression of Ethiopian territory.
Then came the decision of the 34th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the OAU which unequivocally endorsed the proposal of the facilitators and appealed to Ethiopia and Eritrea to accept the proposal and implement it. True to form, the Eritrean reaction was negative and the Asmara authorities once again made it clear that peace was not their interest.
It is under these circumstances and following Eritrea's rejection of the appeals of both the facilitators and of the OAU, at the highest level, that the United Nations Security Council was made to be seized with the crisis between Ethiopia and Eirtrea. There was virtually no stone unturned and no trick left unutilized by Eritrea----including pure and simple fabrication of stories and other diversionary tactics all unprecedented in the annals of diplomatic history-----to prevent the Security Council from being seized with the issue, most particularly to prevent the Council form coming out with a just verdict.
But Eritrea failed to succeed and the Security Council did adopt a resolution on 26th of June, 1998, whose key elements gave endorsement to the OAU decision and , ispo facto , to the proposal by the facilitators.
Ethiopia has accepted this resolution by the Security Council in its entirety, without picking and choosing and with no Ifs and Buts.
On the other hand, Eritrea's response has been no more than gimmick. The Eritrean authorities have found it necessary this time around to conceal their lack of commitment to peace.They could not afford to be seen to always reject appeals for peace, all the more so because this time the appeal was being made by the Security Council. Accordingly, the Asmara authorities decided to let it be known that they would go along with the resolution of the Security Council,but---and this is the key----on the basis of a selective reading of the Council's decision and of picking bits and pieces from the resolution which is calculated to ignore its key elements.
The international community, and the Security Council in particular, cannot, and we are confident will not, allow the Erirtean Authorities to get away with possibilities for prevaricating and for being disingenuous. They should be pinned down on whether or not they are prepared for a peaceful resolution of the crisis which hinges on their acceptance of the proposal which requires them to vacate Ethiopian territory that they have occupied through aggression.This is one of the key elements of the resolution by the Security Council and Eritrea cannot say yes to the decision by the Council, and then in the same breath pretend that it is not required by the same resolution to accept the proposal of the facilitators one of whose Key elements is Eritrea's withdrawal from Ethiopian territory. Eritrea should not be allowed to succeed in this attempt at fudging the issues involved which is transparently disingenuous.This again is a reflection of the underlying unwillingness of the Eritrean authorities to accept and implement the proposal of the facilitators which they know perfectly well is the only viable and realistic basis for avoiding that option which Ethiopia has refused resorting to because of its commitment to a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
Now that the Security Council has spoken in clear terms in support of the proposal already on the table, Eritrea should be denied all possibilities for creating confusion and should be required to implement the provisions of this important Security Council resolution without Ifs and Buts. On this depends whether or not the slim chance which might be available for a peaceful resolution of the crisis would be used properly. Here again, as it has always been since the beginning this crisis, the ball is in Eritrea's court.
In this context, the international community has the responsibility of continuing to put pressure on the Eritrean regime to withdraw its troops from Ethiopian territory on the basis of the proposal made by the facilitators and endorsed by the OAU as well as now supported by the Security Council.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1st July, 1998
From: email@example.com Message-Id: <199807080248.TAA26388@igce.igc.org> Date: Tue, 7 Jul 1998 22:47:12 -0500 Subject: East Africa: Horn Conflict, 1/2
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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