Saturday, 30 November 2013

News Release: CRFFN Invites AREFFN To First National Conference Of Freight Forwarders In Nigeria


Videonews: Did Comet ISON Survive? Scientists See Tiny Hope

News Report: Obamacare Begins With Maintenance Shutdown


Credit: Reuters
A crucial weekend for the troubled website that is the backbone of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul appears to be off to a shaky start, as the U.S. government took the HealthCare.gov site offline for an unusually long maintenance period into Saturday morning.
Just hours before the Obama administration's self-imposed deadline to get the insurance shopping website working for the "vast majority" of its users by Saturday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it was taking down the website for an 11-hour period that would end at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) on Saturday.
It was unclear whether the extended shutdown of the website - about seven hours longer than on typical day - represented a major setback to the Obama administration's high-stakes scramble to fix the portal that it hopes eventually will enroll about 7 million uninsured and under-insured Americans under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
At the very least, the shutdown suggested that nine weeks after the website's disastrous launch on Oct. 1 prevented most applicants from enrolling in coverage and ignited one of the biggest crises of Obama's administration, U.S. officials are nervous over whether Americans will see enough progress in the website to be satisfied.
For the administration and its Democratic allies, the stakes are enormous.
The healthcare overhaul is Obama's signature domestic achievement, a program designed to extend coverage to millions of Americans and reduce healthcare costs. To work, the program must enroll millions of young, healthy consumers whose participation in the new insurance exchanges is key to keeping costs in check.
After weeks of round-the-clock upgrades of software and hardware, Obama officials said they were poised to successfully double its capacity by this weekend, to be able to handle 50,000 insurance shoppers at one time.
But if the website does not work for the "vast majority" of visitors this weekend as the administration has promised, uninsured Americans from 36 states could face problems getting coverage by an initial Dec. 23 deadline.
It also could create ripples that extend to the 2014 elections when control of the U.S. House of Representatives (now controlled by Republicans) and the Senate (now led by Democrats) will be up for grabs.
Obama's fellow Democrats who are up for re-election in Congress already have shown signs of distancing themselves from the president and his healthcare program. If the website does not show significant improvement soon, some Democrats - particularly the dozen U.S. senators who are from states led by conservative Republicans and who are up for re-election next year - might call for extending Obamacare's final March 31 enrollment deadline for 2014.
That would delay the fines that are mandated by the law for those who do not have insurance by that date, a scenario that insurers say would destabilize the market. It also would fuel Republicans' arguments that Obamacare, and its website, are fatally flawed and should be scrapped.
In broader political terms, the website's immediate success has become vital to Obama's credibility, which polls indicate has been tarnished by the site's problems as well as Obama's admission that he overreached in promising that everyone who liked their healthcare plan would be able to keep it under the new law.
Obama has been forced to apologize for oversimplying how the law would affect certain Americans, and has acknowledged being embarrassed and frustrated by the website's failures. Recent polls have shown that Obama's approval ratings are at the lowest point of his presidency.
"It is a lot harder to reboot public trust than it is to reboot software," said David Brailer, chief executive of the Health Evolution Partners private equity firm and a former health official in George W. Bush's administration.
"But the good thing about when you're down is that usually, you got nowhere to go but up," Obama said in an interview that aired on Friday on ABC.
Is It Fixed? Hard To Tell:
Several technology specialists told Reuters that it will be difficult to independently assess on Saturday whether the HealthCare.gov site has met the administration's goals of functioning for most users most of the time, including handling 50,000 users at once.
"There won't be anything you can tell from the outside," said Jonathan Wu, an information technology expert and co-founder of the consumer financial website ValuePenguin.
When the site opened for enrollment on Oct. 1, many users found that they could not complete the simple task of creating an account. Now, the website is functioning better but any remaining problems lie much deeper within the site, Wu said in an interview.
Eleventh-hour checks were not encouraging, said Matthew Hancock, an independent expert in software design who said he could tell within hours of the site's launch that its problems were the results of poor system design and bugs, rather than the heavy traffic that the administration blamed initially.
"I have tested the site every several days trying to buy a health insurance plan, but haven't been able to," Hancock said.
"I think the issues the site faces now are more complex to diagnose from the front end, whereas before the site was immediately failing and returning error details," he said.
Questions also remain about the website's ability to direct payments to private insurance companies when consumers enroll in their plans. Portions of the system handling those functions are still being built, officials say.
"The real tests are: Were my premium payment and subsidy accurately calculated? Am I getting the coverage I signed up for? If my income situation changes, will the reconciliation occur in a timely fashion?" said Rick Howard, a research director at technology consultant Gartner.
A Date And A Number:
Heading into this weekend, administration officials tasked with rescuing Obamacare showed signs of confidence that the series of fixes by tech specialists would work.
The officials gave a "virtual tour" of what they had branded the "tech surge" to a group of White House reporters.
The White House also invited a group of IT specialists to tour the website's "command center," where an engineer on unpaid leave from Google Inc directs disparate contractors and monitors their progress.
It was a convincing show that the team had the crisis under control, said John Engates, chief technology officer at Rackspace, a web hosting firm in San Antonio, who participated.
Engates, who had been publicly critical of the launch, said he felt it was likely the website would be able to handle 50,000 concurrent users on Saturday, although he did not know for sure.
"Whenever you have a date and a number, you need to be pretty sure that you can hit that date and that number," Engates told Reuters.
"It's just another loss of confidence if you don't make it."


Photonews: Bicycle Riding Campaign In Abuja


Friday, 29 November 2013

Article: Eritrea-Ethiopia Virtual Demarcation Is Legal And Enforceable


By SophiaTesfamariam

It is hypocritical of the US Administration and its allies, to preach about the rule of law and human rights, while it has abused its international diplomatic and military influence to undermine the rights of the Eritrean people to live in peace within their own internationally recognized borders. It is also hypocritical to raise issues such as “prolonged national service”, “right to leave their country”, “excessive militarization” etc. etc. while it has encouraged the 12-year long occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories. Surely, the US and its allies cannot possibly believe that they are better poised to know what the people of Eritrea want and need…as there is no track record to prove it. There is instead a 100 long and bloody years history of subjugation and terror, of gross violations of their human rights, a denial of their rights to self-determination and independence, as they appeased successive Ethiopian regimes.
For today, let us re-visit the Eritrea Ethiopia border issue and specifically, the demarcation decisions of the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission which the US and its allies on the Security Council have decided to “kill” or put on the back burner, emboldening the minority regime in Ethiopia to continue with its occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories. As we shall see below, the “concerns” raised by the various states on the Security Council have been rendered moot, but more importantly the excuses made for not accepting the EEBC’s demarcation decisions, that there is no precedence, or that it is “legal nonsense” have been found to be disingenuous.
When the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) delivered its Final and Binding Delimitation Decision on 13 April 2002, Kofi Annan and the Security Council welcomed the Boundary Commission's ruling, and hailed it as a "final legal settlement" of the Eritrea Ethiopia border dispute. Welcoming the decision as "an important milestone in the peace process", Kofi Annan lauded the parties for their "continued and consistent reaffirmation" that the ruling was final and binding, in accordance with the Algiers Peace Agreement of December 2000. In its Press Statement read by Sergey Lavrov (Russian Federation), President of the Security Council, on the decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission on 16 April 2002 it said:
"…Members of the Security Council express their satisfaction that a final legal settlement of the border issues between Ethiopia and Eritrea has been completed in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed by the parties in Algiers in December 2000.Members of the Security Council welcome the decision by the Boundary Commission, announced in The Hague on 13 April 2002, which is final and binding. Members of the Security Council underline their commitment to support the implementation of the Boundary Commission's decision and to contribute to the completion of the peace process…"
Eritrea accepted the verdict and while Ethiopia accepted it at first, only to turn around and reject it as being “illegal, unjust and irresponsible”. The EEBC had “unequivocally” awarded Badme (the casus bellie for the Eritrea Ethiopia border conflict) to Eritrea, and Ethiopia refused to accept that decision. That began a five year long campaign to amend, revise, re-visit and revise the EEBC’s decision. Ever since the independent Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission rendered its final and binding decision on 13 April 2002, the minority regime in Ethiopia and its handlers have been trying to amend, revise and revisit that decision.
After waiting for over 5 years, the EEBC, due to Ethiopia’s refusal to allow for the expeditious demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border in accordance with the Final and Binding EEBC decision, the Commission closed its offices and left the area. The Commission in its November 2006 Statement said that it was “ obliged to adopt another approach to effect the demarcation of the border” and complete its mandate to demarcate the Eritrea Ethiopia by placing coordinates on maps “virtual demarcation”, as opposed to pillars on the ground. The EEBC, in its Statement of 27 November 2006 explained its methodology:
“…Modern techniques of image processing and terrain modelling make it possible, in conjunction with the use of high resolution aerial photography, to demarcate the course of the boundary by identifying the location of turning points (hereinafter called “boundary points”) by both grid and geographical coordinates with a degree of accuracy that does not differ significantly from pillar site assessment and emplacement undertaken in the field. The Commission has therefore identified by these means the location of points for the emplacement of pillars as a physical manifestation of the boundary on the ground… Although these techniques have been available for some time, the Commission has not resorted to them because the actual fixing of boundary pillars, if at all possible, was the demarcation method of first choice. However, it is only possible to demarcate a boundary by the fixing of boundary pillars with the full cooperation of both the States concerned…”
On the same day, the EEBC sent a letter to the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry. It was in response to a letter sent by the regime to the EEBC and circulated at the Security Council. In that letter the EEBC responded to Ethiopia’s tantrums by stating the following:
“…This was not the first time that the Security Council has called on Ethiopia to fulfil its obligations in respect of the Demarcation Decision. Nor is Ethiopia’s failure to respond positively to such a call the first time that it has disregarded the call of the Security Council. It is a matter of regret that Ethiopia has so persistently maintained a position of non-compliance with its obligations in relation to the Commission… There is no basis for the suggestion that the Commission has been appeasing Eritrea. Nor can such a suggestion, however unfounded, obscure the fact that Ethiopia has itself been in breach of its obligations under the Algiers Agreement in several important respects…The truth of the matter appears to be that Ethiopia is dissatisfied with the substance of the Commission’s Delimitation Decision and has been seeking, ever since April 2002, to find ways of changing it… I regret that it has been necessary to address you in such direct terms but your letter — and the publicity that you have given it — have left me with no alternative. It would be unacceptable for an international tribunal to be exposed to the kind of criticism which you have lodged without replying to it in necessary detail…”
Ethiopia and its handlers conducted an orchestrated diplomatic blitz to stop the EEBC from moving forward with the new approach. As the American Embassy cables mentioned below show, there was never any genuine effort by the US and its partners to urge Ethiopia to abide by the rule of law. Instead, they promised to support Ethiopia’s intransigence and prevent the UN Security Council from taking any punitive actions against the belligerent regime. This undermines the credibility, integrity, neutrality and efficacy of the UN Security Council and undermines the confidence of member states who will rely on its judiciousness and impartiality in resolving border disputes in the future.
On 30 November 2007 speaking to Voice of America’s (VoA) Peter Heinlein about the “virtual demarcation” of the Eritrea Ethiopia border, Meles Zenawi said:
“…As far as the virtual demarcation of the boundary is concerned, I have heard well-respected diplomats and lawyers describe it as 'legal nonsense'…Our lawyers agree with such characterization. Until the boundary is demarcated on the ground, it is not demarcated. As soon as it is demarcated, there will be relocation of administrations, police and so forth. But not before that. Only after actual demarcation on the ground. And we prefer to engage the Eritrean side in pushing forwards toward demarcation...”
Interesting that Meles Zenawi would insist on demarcation on the ground when it was his regime that prevented the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) from doing just that.
Meles Zenawi presumed to know more about the law than the distinguished members of the Boundary Commission and in a letter dated 27 November 2007, Ethiopia asserted that the demarcation coordinates set out in the Commission’s Statement of 27 November 2006 “are invalid because they are not the product of a demarcation process recognized by international law”.
Again, in its 18 January 2008 letter to the President of the Security Council Ethiopia claimed that virtual demarcation had “no validity in international law” and that the coordinates are invalid “because they are not the product of a demarcation process recognized by international law.” The regime’s lawyers and “respected diplomats” must know that while placing pillars is accepted practice, not all international borders are demarcated with pillars. New technologies bring new methods and approaches…As the EEBC said in its eloquent statement of 2006, “the feasibility and acceptability of the use of coordinates alone as a means of identifying international boundaries is clearly affirmed by the manner in which the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea deals with the limits of maritime claims by States.
Kathleen Claussen in “Invisible borders: Mapping out Virtual Law” dismisses Ethiopia’s arguments about precedence and legality of the approach used by the EEBC:
“…The actual process of carrying out all the calculations and measurements necessary for virtual demarcation varies depending on the technology employed. The most accurate and reliable method available today is stereophotogrammetry…Stereophotogrammetry is commonly used for marking points where it would be impossible to emplace monuments, such as on mountain tops. Geographers use stereophotogrammetry to ascertain a point that parties agree to on the basis of a particular set of stereo reference data. Thus, Ethiopia’s claim that there is no precedent for this type of demarcation is incorrect to the extent that stereophotogrammetry is used in these remote areas… With the precision and permanency of these geographic coordinates, this system would far out-last any monument and be less subject to abuse… many international lawyers concede that the monumentation principle is not, in fact, required by law. It is a purely technical operation of minor importance…”
The regime in Ethiopia has been emboldened by the US led international community to flout international law and the EEBC’s final and binding delimitation and demarcation decisions. Judging from the list of apologists the Ethiopian Prime Minister relied on for political and diplomatic advice and support in the past, we will once again see that the “well respected” diplomats are almost all from the United States and Europe. As for his lawyers, they are the same lawyers who advised him that the EEBC decision was “illegal, unjust and irresponsible”, the same decision that he was forced to grudgingly accept.
So who were these “well respected diplomats” who were advising Ethiopia and preventing the Security Council from taking punitive actions against the regime for it occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories for the last 12 years?
For that we will refer to the US Embassy cables as they are the most definitive-not hearsay or innuendos-straight from the horse’s mouth as they say…
§  A/S FRAZER DISCUSSES SUDAN AND SOMALIA WITH FCO, DFID- 27 November 2006
According to this cable:
“…In meetings with FCO Minister for Africa Lord Triesman November 21 and Secretary of State for International Development Hilary Benn the next day, AF A/S Frazer stressed the need to adopt a UNSCR on Somalia flexible enough that frontline states could play a positive role.  She also floated the suggestion of a UK-Norway initiative to break the deadlock in the Eritrea/Ethiopia boundary dispute…”
That is her way of saying, let Ethiopia-a front line state- have a role in Somalia… she also tries to bring to the table another “initiative”-a time buying gimmick to appease the regime in Ethiopia. The cable goes on:
“…A/S Frazer expressed appreciation for Lord Triesman's earlier offer of whatever support the UK might be able to provide to facilitate resolution of the Eritrea/Ethiopia boundary dispute, including use of the prestigious Lancaster House where historic agreements have been concluded in the past.  She said the USG has tried to revive the Boundary Commission process, but Isaias would not engage.  Triesman admitted he was not sure who could get Isaias to respond positively, and Lloyd added "it's not clear we're the right people," because Eritrea sees the UK as biased in favor of Ethiopia.  Triesman was open to Dr. Frazer's suggestion of a possible co-chair arrangement involving the UK and Norway. Both sides agreed that the Boundary Commission's intent to proceed with "virtual demarcation" would do more harm than good.  The British indicated they were working indirectly to nudge the Commissioners away from that course of action…”
§  ERITREA-ETHIOPIA BORDER IMPASSE: DEMARCHE RESPONSE[2]-11 June 2007 -NORWAY
According to this cable, US diplomats:
“…discussed the Eritrea-Ethiopia border with Norwegian Deputy Permanent Representative Juul in the run-up to the November 27 deadline for demarcation by coordinates as imposed by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC)… PolMinCouns and Poloff presented reftel demarche on June 5 to Norwegian Deputy PermRep Mona Juul, Military Advisor Arve Lauritzen and Political Counselor Berit Enge. Juul reported on a meeting between Norwegian Minister of State Raymond Johanson and Eritrean President Isaias in Asmara on May 30, which she described as a "frank, open discussion," which nevertheless revealed that "not much had changed" on Isaias' part.  Johanson and Isaias had spoken about "virtual demarcation" of the border, but Isaias had insisted that there be "stakes in the ground" before any dialogue with Ethiopia could begin.  Juul said that Johanson's arguments for an economic normalization of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea had not resonated with Isaias…PolMinsCouns asked if Isaias had given any indication of Eritrean intentions if demarcation by coordinates were to take place upon the EEBC's scheduled departure in November, stressing that a major U.S. concern was what would happen after November.  Juul said Isaias had downplayed any threat of war and had blamed the escalation of tensions squarely on Ethiopia…”
§  UNSC—ENGAGING INDONESIA ON ETHIOPIA-ERITREA AND UNMEE REPORT -7 November 2007-INDONESIA
“…Pol/C reviewed reftel points with Harry Purwanto, Director for North American Affairs at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DEPLU), November 8.  Pol/C--noting ongoing tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea--urged Indonesia to avoid commenting publicly on the substantive merits of any decision by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC). He also stressed the need for countries to avoid putting any pressure on either country to take any specific action re the EEBC's decisions or decision-making process…Purwanto expressed appreciation for the information and said he had so far not been aware of the issue.  He said he would review the matter with relevant DEPLU officials using USG-provided points.  Purwanto seriously doubted whether Indonesian officials would make any public statements on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border issue or on the work of the EEBC…”
§  SUBJECT: ERITREA/ETHIOPIA:  FRANCE CONCURS ON APPROACH FOR UNSC MEETING -9 November 2007
“…Africa Watcher conveyed reftel demarche to MFA AF DAS for East Africa Helene Le Gal on November 8.  Le Gal commented that France agreed on the need to support U/SYG Pascoe’s efforts and to allow space for the parties alone, as signatories of the Algiers Agreements, to decide the effect of and whether to implement the EEBC’s virtual demarcation decision…Maintaining that American and French views were similar, Le Gal expressed dissatisfaction with the plan of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) for virtual demarcation of the border by map coordinates at the end of November.  Le Gal’s core objection was that the EEBC, which she called a valuable independent instrument, intended to disband after virtual demarcation.  Without the EEBC, there would be a need either to reinvent it by establishing a new international body or some sort to monitor the crisis or else the Security Council itself would need to play a more frontline role, which could further escalate tensions.  It was unlikely, however, that the French delegation would voice criticisms of the EEBC plan when the UNSC meets to consider the situation…”
SLOVAKIA REQUESTS CLARIFICATION ON UNMEE DEMARCHE -9 November 2009
“…Poloff delivered reftel demarche to Ambassador Vladimir Lomen at the UNSC Coordination Unit at MFA. Lomen promised to share US concerns within the MFA and with Slovakia's mission to the UN. Lomen opined that encouraging UNSC members to avoid statements on the merits of the EEBC's demarcation decision and to avoid putting any pressure on Ethiopia or Eritrea to take specific steps to implement that decision is a departure from past US policy on this issue. …Lomen said Slovak policy on this issue would likely be made in New York, and encouraged Poloff to have USUN offer a more clear explanation of the reasons for this request to Slovakia's mission to the UN…”
EEBC: ITALY IN AGREEMENT WITH U.S. ON APPROACH TOWARD NOVEMBER 30 DEADLINE -17 November 2007
“…Poloff delivered reftel demarche to MFA East Africa Office Director Fabrizio Pignatelli November 15.  Poloff sought Italian agreement on a unified approach to avoid pressure on Ethiopia and Eritrea to implement the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) “virtual demarcation” of the border by map coordinates.  Pignatelli agreed enthusiastically with our points.  He said Italy fully supports UN Under Secretary General Lynn Pascoe’s attempts to mediate the conflict, saying it was our best chance for lowering tensions and resolving the disputes between the parties…Pignatelli said he thought the conflict now boiled down to a question of face saving for both sides.  Given Eritrea’s declaration in September that it would begin to remove its military forces from the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) as soon as demarcation begins, Pignatelli saw some room for hope, if enough trust could be restored to allow simultaneous commencement of demarcation on the ground and the removal of Eritrean troops from the TSZ.  To supervise such a coordinated, simultaneous action, Pignatelli thought it might be possible to extend the mandate of the EEBC with the consent of both parties…”
RUSSIA CONCERNED ABOUT POSSIBILITY FOR VIOLENCE IN THE HORN OF AFRICA-21 November 2007
“…MFA International Organizations Counselor Albert Sitnikov told us on November 20 that while the GOR supported UNSC Presidential Statement 9169 urging both Ethiopia and Eritrea to accept and implement the EEBC’s delineation decision “without preconditions,” the GOR was opposed to the EEBC’s idea of “virtual demarcation” and believed it may lead to violence.  According to Sitnikov, Lavrov called virtual demarcation “legal nonsense.”  The GOR believed virtual demarcation falls outside of the Algiers Agreement and that it was up to involved parties how to demarcate the border.  He said Russia would have to support Ethiopian withdrawal from the agreement were the EEBC to insist upon virtual demarcation…Deputy Director for Africa Nikolai Ratsiborinskiy told us the EEBC’s current proposal had paralyzed the situation.  He noted that Lavrov had stated publicly that a virtual demarcation could destabilize the entire region, and the GOR believed signals from Asmara and Addis Ababa had hinted at their readiness to resume conflict…Commenting on the November 7 visit of Ethiopian FM Seyoum, Ratsiborinskiy said Lavrov told Seyoum privately the GOR would support Ethiopia’s opposition to virtual demarcation in the UNSC, but also warned Seyoum about statements and actions that could destabilize the fragile situation…GOR support for the UN Presidential Statement was carefully worded to support “delineation,” not “demarcation.” If Ethiopia does not recognize the EEBC’s virtual demarcation, the GOR has said it will be prepared to take its side in a UNSC debate…” 
The US Embassy cables clearly show that, instead of upholding the rule of law and urging Ethiopia to abide by its treaty obligations, the United State and its allies were instead using their diplomatic clout to undermine the EEBC and its decisions regarding the Eritrea Ethiopia border. That does not bode well for peace, stability and security in our region, and it certainly does not give states much confidence in the UN Security Council (UNSC) and its ability to shoulder its moral and legal responsibilities. With so many new states being created and border conflicts on the rise, the UNSC will find itself irrelevant on issues relating to delimitation and demarcation of borders-matters of peace and security-its raison d'etre...
So is virtual demarcation “legal nonsense”?
No it is not and it is also not something Eritrea secretly created in the mountains of Sahel…it is a widely used method, and a preferred method as it is the most accurate… The coordinate-only demarcation method is of equal validity to that of erecting monuments or pillars.
As in all other aspects of our lives that have been affected positively by advanced technology and know-how, so has boundary-marking.  Technology and necessity have produced an alternative methodology. Simply discounting the new technology, especially by states where these technologies emerged from, is quite puzzling.
For reasons that are still unclear to all that have been following developments in the region, the Security Council, despite the fact that the EEBC has deposited the documents with the UN, remains mum on the issue. The Security Council endorsed the "virtual demarcation' of the Iraq-Kuwait border and enforced its decision. Why is it then employing double standards today on the EEBC's demarcation decisions? As we shall see below and has been attested to by Independent observers, the composition of the EEBC is more "legal" and impartial than the one created by the UN Secretary General in the case of Iraq-Kuwait.
The Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) was established pursuant to the 12 December 2000 Algiers Peace Agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia and its mandate was clearly spelled out in that Agreement. According to Article 4.15 of the Algiers Agreement:
"…The parties agree that the delimitation and demarcation determinations of the Commission shall be final and binding. Each party shall respect the border so determined, as well as the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the other party…
The parties handpicked the Commissioners after extensive vetting. Out of the 5 members of the EEBC, only one of the Commissioners was a UN appointee. The parties appointed 2 Commissioners each. The four Commissioners appointed by the parties were: Prince Bola Adesumbo Ajibola (appointed by Ethiopia), Professor W. Michael Reisman (appointed by Eritrea), Judge Stephen M. Schwebel (appointed by Eritrea) and Sir Arthur Watts, KCMG QC (appointed by Ethiopia). UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed Sir Elihu Lauterpacht as the President. The UN Cartographer served as the Secretary to the Commission.
On the other hand, the UN Iraq Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission (UNIKBDC) was not established by the two parties to the conflict as required by international law and the UN Charter. It was established pursuant to paragraph 3 of Resolution 687 adopted by the Security Council on 3 April 1991. Its mandate was also not agreed upon independently by the two parties, it was determined by the Secretary General as his 2 May 1991 Report to the Security Council will show. In that Report, Secretary General Javier Perez De Cuellar wrote:
"…After consultation with the Governments of Iraq and Kuwait, I will now establish a Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission to be composed of one representative each of Iraq and Kuwait and three independent experts who will be appointed by me, one of which will serve as Chairman. The terms of reference of the Commission will be to demarcate in geographical coordinates of latitude and longitude the international boundary set out in the agreed Minutes between Kuwait and Iraq. The coordinates established by the Commission will constitute the final demarcation of the international boundary between Iraq and Kuwait. The Commission will take its decisions by majority. Its decisions regarding the demarcation of the border will be final…"
The Secretary General appointed Mr. Mochtar Kusuma-Atmadja, former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia as Chairman, Mr. Ian Brook, then Technical Director, Swedsurvey, National Land Survey of Sweden, and Mr. William Robertson, General/Director General of the Department of Survey and Land Information of New Zealand, as independent experts. Ambassador Riyadh Al-Qaysi represented Iraq and Ambassador Tarek A.Razzouki represented Kuwait. Mr. Miklos Pinter, Chief Cartographer of the United Nations Secretariat, was appointed Secretary to the Commission. The UN Secretary General spelled out UNIKBDC's mandate. The delimitation formula was the 1932 Exchange of letters between the Prime Minister of Iraq and the Ruler of Kuwait.
As we can see above, while the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission was set up in accordance with general practice and parity, the UN Iraq Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission was not. Whilst the EEBC's impartiality, independence and clear and coherent mandate was hailed and accepted by Eritrea, Ethiopia and the international community, including the Security Council, the same cannot be said about the independence and neutrality of UNIKBDC, its constitution or its politically motivated mandate.
Despite Iraq's expressed reservations about the composition of the Commission, its mandate and its legality, succumbing to international pressure (Operation Desert Storm) it reluctantly accepted the terms and conditions set forth in Resolution 687. Suffice it to mention an excerpt from a letter dated 23 April 1991 sent by Ahmed Hussein, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, to the Secretary General to illustrate Iraq's frustration with the Security Council and Resolution 687's legality. The Iraqi Minister wrote:
"...just as we accepted resolution 687 (!991) despite our objections of and criticisms of its provisions, we will cooperate with you and nominate a representative of our government to participate in the Demarcation Commission, even if you take no account of the views and comments expressed above. We do this because the circumstances forcing our acceptance persists..."
The Secretary General was fulfilling a request by the Security Council to establish the Boundary Demarcation Commission. In responding to Iraq's reservations about the proposed Commission and its mandate, the Secretary General was keen on stressing the Commission's independence and methodology, in an attempt to assure Iraq of the Commission's neutrality, in his 30 April 1991 letter to the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Javier Perez De Cuellar wrote:
"…It is up to the Commission to examine and identify the relevant documentation and to determine which technology or combination of can best be used for the fulfillment of its mandate. In my view, it would prejudice the work of the Commission and even hinder its independence if I were to go beyond the level of detail concerning the working methods of the Boundary Commission set out in my draft report…"
There were many that questioned Resolution 687's neutrality and legality, but were powerless to do anything about it. Not only was it in contravention of Article 33 of the UN Charter and a violation of Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity, it also contradicted the Council's own Resolution 660 of 1990, which called on Iraq and Kuwait to resolve their differences through negotiations. It was cited as "the first in the annals of the international organization" and it raised many concerns and questions amongst the impartial members of the Security Council.
Article 33 of the UN charter is very clear as to what needs to be done when there is a dispute between member states. The Security Council does not have the mandate to amend, revise, revisit or change Agreements signed by two sovereign states.
Many independent observers and legal analysts considered Resolution 687 an immoral and politically motivated Resolution and one that was clearly ultra vires of the Security Council's mandate under the UN Charter-even if it was acting under Chapter VII. The Resolution was labeled "iniquitous" and legal experts and analysts voiced their concerns and concurred that it constituted "a dangerous legal precedent". Nonetheless, the Boundary Commission was allowed to execute its mandate and the Security Council immediately endorsed its demarcation decisions when delivered.
By its Resolution 833 (1993) adopted on 27 May 1993, the Security Council:
"…Welcomes also the successful conclusion of the work of the Commission. Reaffirms that the decisions of the Commission regarding the demarcation of the boundary are final; Demands that Iraq and Kuwait in accordance with international law and relevant Security Council resolutions respect the inviolability of the international boundary, as demarcated by the Commission, and the right to navigational access; Underlines and reaffirms its decision to guarantee the inviolability of the above-mentioned international boundary…"
As the EEBC noted in its Statement, “No doubt was expressed as to the legal acceptability of a “demarcation” by means of a list of coordinates”. The Security Council not only endorsed the UN Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation decisions, it also guaranteed its inviolability. The Security Council went on to enforce that decision and today Iraq and Kuwait have a secure and internationally recognized boundary. Ditto for Israel and Jordan.
Politics aside, what is important to note in this case is the fact that the terms of reference in the Iraq-Kuwait border demarcation provided that the international boundary be demarcated in geographical coordinates of latitude and longitude, as well as physical representations on the ground. The coordinates for the land boundary are physically demarcated by 106 monuments, approximately 2km apart, and 28 intermediate markers.
If virtual demarcation is "legal nonsense" or has no legal applicability, why did the Security Council accept the UN Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission's decision and endorse the virtual demarcation of the Iraq-Kuwait border and make efforts to enforce it?
If it managed to come up with mechanisms to enforce the inviolability of the Iraq-Kuwait international border, why can't it also enforce the inviolability of the Eritrea Ethiopia border?
If the Security Council can endorse a decision delivered by a legally questionable body and enforce its decisions, why is it reluctant to endorse and enforce the EEBC decision when by all accounts and when compared, the EEBC is not only more independent and impartial but also one that both parties to the conflict chose and established?
Eritrea intends to take advantage of all technological advances to develop its war torn economy, to increase food production and ensure food security, and to develop its human and economic infrastructures etc. Eritrea understands that with advances in technology, there will be many changes in the methods used in various sectors including agriculture, education, communication, and a new approach to demarcation is no different. If the minority regime Ethiopia wants to remain in the dark ages, that is their choice, and the UN Security Council can help educate the backward regime and bring it to the modern. It should not be party to its ignobility and backwardness.
Surely, if Eritrea, a developing nation understands and accepts these new and innovative methods available for demarcating borders, and if the EEBC, a sound legal body composed of experienced legal scholars, also accepts them, what is preventing the UN Security Council and especially the United States and European states on the Council from accepting the EEBC’s demarcation decisions?
Kathleen Claussen writes:
“…The monumentation [pillars on the ground] approach might have made sense when no other means were available; however, in the twenty-first century, when the law has kept pace with technology in other areas of science, border demarcation should do the same. Moreover, inconsistencies among boundary commissions and the variety of state methodologies indicate a need for harmonization in order to clarify and establish coherent legal norms in this field. Virtual demarcation achieves that…The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission has signaled a new approach for border-marking that, at the very least, merits jurisprudential and institutional consideration and has the potential to revolutionize boundary-marking and boundary-making…”
Ethiopia threatened to pull out of the Algiers Agreements and the US and its allies buckled…the fact is that boundaries remain even if treaties that created them, like the Colonial treaties of 1900, 1902 and 1908 that served as the basis for the delimitation decisions of the EEBC, are no longer in force.
Enforcing the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission's demarcation decisions and calling on Ethiopia to vacate from sovereign Eritrean territories will go a long way in improving the lives of the people in both countries. The US led international community cannot decry the plight of Eritrean economic refugees and asylum seekers, and the "prolonged national service" in Eritrea, while refusing to address the cause of their discontent-the occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories and the economic and other sanctions placed on them.
The rule of law must prevail over the law of the jungle!


U-Report: ActionAid Commends Nigeria’s Decision On Tax Evasion



Report By ActionAid Nigeria Publicity Arm

ActionAid Nigeria has commended the Nigeria federal government for admitting there is need to focus more on tax as reliable revenue generation. The organisation also commended the federal executive council on its decision to tackle tax evasion and incentives abuse by businesses n the country.

The anti-poverty organisation, in conjunction with her partners in the Nigeria Tax Justice and Governance (NTJ&G) platform has for over two years been calling on government to look more at tax as source of revenue for development interventions in the country.

In a statement issued by the organisation, Tunde Aremu, ActionAid Nigeria’s Policy Advocacy and Campaigns Manager, stated that “we agree with the federal executive council that there is now a need to tackle the problem of tax evasion and tax avoidance. This is in line with our argument that the amount of revenue the country loses as a result of uncollected tax over the years is enough to address development needs of the country.”

ActionAid Nigeria, which launched its Tax Justice campaign in July this year, stated that “for several years, avoidance of tax payment and illicit flow of fund from the country through the use of tax havens and secrecy jurisdiction has been largely responsible to lack of fund for the financing of development agenda in the country and invariably deepening of poverty among the citizens”.

While ActionAid threw its weight behind the government decision to tackle the challenge of tax evasion and tax avoidance, it however asked the government to stop giving undeserved incentives to rich corporations.

According to Aremu, “while we agree with government that tax evasions by all businesses must stop, it is important for government to note that the real revenue loss is as a result of the unwholesome practices of tax avoidance by the multinationals and the granting of undeserved incentives to big corporations by governments”

Aremu stated further that “while the government’s argument’s in the past that incentives are given to attract foreign investments, experience has shown that the incentives are the least of the reasons for foreign investors going into any country.

“There are also evidences that apart from the fact that companies that have been given tax breaks by the Nigeria authorities have made profits in their first year of operations than they have made in other business jurisdictions, many of them have abused such incentives and have continued to refuse to meet their obligations associated with the incentives”

The anti-poverty agency’s campaigns manager called on the government that “instead of targeting small and medium enterprises, the government should concentrate efforts on targeting big multinationals and national corporations, which are the real culprits for the nation’s loss of valuable revenue”.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

News Release: Anambra Governorship Poll And Use Of Politicians As INEC Staff


The administrative lapses and alleged malicious conduct of the INEC adhoc official in-charge of Idemmili North LGA, Mr. Chukwujekwu Nweke during the yet-to-be concluded Anambra Governorship Poll are partly, if not substantially blamed on the recruitment and use of career politicians both as substantive and adhoc staffs during the elections. There are sufficient evidence showing that the Independent National Electoral Commission has traditionalized the recruitment and use of career politicians both as substantive and adhoc senior staffs.

The likes of Mr. Lawrence Nwuruku and Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari, who are INEC special commissioners deployed for Anambra governorship poll, are a clear case in point. From our detailed investigation, Mr. Nwuruku is the former chairman of the People’s Democratic Party and a former PDP nominated commissioner and minister. Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari, 53, from Kazaure LGA of Jigawa State served as secretary (commissioner) for health & human services, social development and agriculture & rural development (acting secretary) in the Federal Capital Territory administration under the then PDP-controlled regime of Malam Nasri El-Rufai between 2004 and 2007. She was reportedly nominated to her current position as INEC commissioner by Malam El-Rufai in 2010.

Today, while Mr. Nwuruku still reportedly maintains his affection with the PDP, Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari is said to have soft spot for All Progressives Congress (APC). This is because of the roles in the said poll, of her mentor and nominator, Malam Nasri El-Rufai, who is a well pronounced member of the APC. As INEC special commissioners for Anambra State Governorship Poll, they have reportedly continued to serve as major access points for their erstwhile (?) political parties.

For instance, Mr. Tony Nwoye’s vivid public reference to Mr. Lawrence Nwuruku in a number of his public programs after the main poll is a case in point. It is also believed in many quarters that what gave the APC impetus to import hundreds of fake voters during the poll, which was scuttled by security agencies, was the presence of one of its apologists as “a visiting special INEC commissioner for Anambra governorship poll”. It is further submitted that, but for disorganization of Malam El-Rufai’s movement in Awka, this “super link” would have paid off.

The error of recruiting and using career political activist lecturers as INEC’s senior adhoc staffs has also become a recurring decimal. The duo of Mr. Chukwujekwu Nweke and Mr. Alex Anene is one of such examples. While Mr. Nweke allegedly compromised the conduct of the gubernatorial poll in Idemmili North on 16th of November, 2013, Mr. Alex Anene, in connivance with compromised media outfits sneaked into a private hotel in Awka and announced the concocted results of a senatorial election and returned his perceived pay master as winner.

As Anambra State governorship supplementary poll is few days away, we urge INEC to be mindful of those special commissioners designated for the important poll. This means that the Commission’s searchlight should be beamed round the clock on them, with particular attention on Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari. If INEC has condemned El-Rufai’s commando style entrance into the State in connection with the said poll, it should go farther than that by looking inward to find out “who was in the house for him and for what purposes”. The Commission should also put in place measures to professionalize its top substantive and adhoc staff management by appointing people from core and professional CSOs including academia and civil service into its top staff management.

Signed:

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board
 08033601078, 08180103912
  
Comrade Justus Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk
 08037114869


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

News Release: MEND Demands Release Of Asari Dokubo

Asari Dokubo

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) demands the immediate release of Mr Asari Dokubo who has been detained since Tuesday, November 26, 2013 in the Republic of Benin .

Even though Mr Asari Dokubo, along with some Niger Delta myopic and corrupt Tribal Assemblies like the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC), Ijaw Monitoring Group ( IMG ), South-South Peoples Assembly (SSPA) and Elder Edwin K Clark gloated or kept silent over Henry Okah’s setup, arrest and conviction, we will remember the role Mr Asari Dokubo had played in the unfinished struggle before he was bought off along with several others.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) will not abandon Mr Asari Dokubo at this time as we will not abandon Henry Okah, his brother Charles Okah and others still incarcerated.

If diplomacy fails to prevail, we will not rule out any form of attacks on the Republic of Benin’s interests.

Jomo Gbomo

Article: How US Administration Undermined Eritrea-Ethiopia Peace Process



By Sophia Tesfamariam

The Eritrean Quislings League (EQL), a disparate group of self-proclaimed “Intellectuals and Professionals”, national service evaders, defectors, pedophiles, religious extremists who support groups like the Boko Haram in Nigeria and fringe Christian groups in the Bible belt, human traffickers and smugglers responsible for the tragic death of Eritreans in the Sinai, the Sahara desert, the Red Sea and Mediterranean and bankrupt mercenaries in their employ scream foul and jump in defense of the west, especially the United States, all the while undermining Eritrea, its people and government. Everyone that knows a thing or two about Eritrea and its magnanimous people knows that:
· Eritrea does not fabricate, lie, pretend etc. to advance its political interests at home or abroad.
· Eritrea does not harbor any ill will against the United States or the American people and only seeks justice and respect for the rights of her people.
·  Eritrea does not make accusations it cannot back up with facts and evidence-and seeks the same when being accused.

So when Eritrea puts the responsibility for the “stalemate” in the Eritrea Ethiopia border issue squarely at Washington’s feet-it is not because it imagined it to be, but because the facts actually do show that it is the US (with its allies in tow) that has single handedly undermined the Algiers Agreements it witnessed and guaranteed, attempted to amend, revise, re-visit the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commissions’ (EEBC) final and binding delimitation and demarcation decisions of 13 April 2002 and November 2007 respectively, and provided the minority regime in Ethiopia the diplomatic, economic, political, and military shield and support as it continues to occupy sovereign Eritrean territories, including Badme, the casus belli of the Eritrea Ethiopia border conflict of 1998-2000.

The orchestrated vilification and defamation campaigns by the EQL and their handlers intensified when the EEBC, which had the sole mandate to delimit and demarcate the Eritrea Ethiopia border refused to allow the various gimmicks and ploys presented by Ethiopia and its handlers in order to amend, revise, re-visit and annul the EEBC’s final and binding decisions.

After publicly claiming to have "won" in court and accepting the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission's decision as final and binding and urging the international community to pressure Eritrea for the speedy demarcation of the border, Ethiopia defiantly held the demarcation activities hostage by demanding changes, amendments, and revisions, with acquiescence and tacit approval of the United States and its allies.

The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (“the Commission”) following its meeting in private session in The Hague on 20 November 2006 to consider procedures to be followed in connection with the demarcation of the boundary between Eritrea and Ethiopia issued a Statement in which it painstakingly documented Ethiopia’s obstructions to its mandate and work. The EEBC said “the obstacles from the Ethiopian side took various forms”:

· prohibiting field-work within the territory under its control, thus impeding the survey of ground control points for the aerial photography and the secondary datum survey (April to July 2002);
· filing extensive comments on the Delimitation Decision, amounting to an attempt to reopen elements of the substance of that Decision, instead of limiting itself to the requested comments on the draft 1:25,000 maps (January 2003);
· alleging that the Field Liaison Officers appointed by Eritrea were intelligence officers and refusing to allow field work to continue in Ethiopian territory, then failing to appoint ad hoc Field Liaison Officers within the prescribed time limit following the Commission’s Order of 9 February 2003 so as to allow field work to resume without further delay (January to February 2003);
· failing to appoint new Field Liaison Officers for the remaining demarcation activities following the Commission’s Decision pursuant to Article 15B of the Demarcation Directions (July 2003 to March 2006);
· failing to provide assurances for the security of all demarcation personnel (August 2003 to the present); failing to comment on maps which indicated the pillar locations in the Eastern Sector (September 2003);
· repeatedly refusing to authorize necessary flight requests lodged by the Chief Surveyor; eventually limiting the Commission’s field work to the Eastern Sector by statements that the ad hoc Field Liaison Officers would only be permitted to operate in the Eastern Sector; complaining to the Secretary-General of the United Nations of what Ethiopia termed “illegal, unjust and irresponsible decisions” of the Commission in respect of Badme and parts of the Central Sector, and proposing that the Security Council set up an alternative mechanism to demarcate the parts of the boundary it contested (September 2003);
· denouncing in that same letter the Commission’s Delimitation Decision by stating that it would only recognise the southern boundary of the Temporary Security Zone (“TSZ”) as the international boundary;
·  failing to provide assurances for the security of the contractors selected for the emplacement and as-built survey of the boundary pillars (September to October 2003);
· rejecting the Commission’s invitation to attend a meeting on 5 November 2003, claiming that the notice was too short and that there was no likelihood of anything being achieved (October 2003);
· refusing to permit any work to be carried out by the Commission’s field staff in the Western and Central Sectors until the boundary in the Eastern Sector had been demarcated and subject to Ethiopia’s approval of the Commission’s method of demarcation (November 2003);
· failing to make prompt payment of its share of the Commission’s expenses (February 2004 to February 2005);
· rejecting the Commission’s invitation to a meeting to be held on 22 February 2005 on the ground that the meeting was premature, would be unproductive and could have an adverse impact on the demarcation process, as a result of which the Commission was obliged to cancel the meeting (February 2005);
· failing again to meet its financial obligations (May 2006 to the present); introducing qualifications to its previously unqualified acceptance of the final and binding quality of the Delimitation Decision (17 May 2006);
· failing to respond to the Commission’s request for assurances of freedom of movement and security for its staff travelling to the region to reopen the Commission’s Field Offices (July to August 2006);
· and failing to respond to the Commission’s invitation to a rescheduled meeting on 24 August 2006…”

Ethiopia which depends on the US and its allies to feed tis people, manage its economic, social and military sectors and subsidize 60% of its budget has been emboldened by the shield and support it receives.

Suffice it to highlight the following US Embassy cables that clearly show the extent of US interference and influence in appeasing the minority regime in Ethiopia as it violated international law, the EEBC’s final and binding decisions and the over two dozen UN Security Council resolutions that called on it to abide by its moral and legal treaty obligations.

1. ETHIOPIA: MELES DISCUSSES BORDER ISSUE WITH DAS YAMAMOTO-1 December 2005

“…Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles told visiting DAS Don Yamamoto and Charge Huddleston November 29, that the time is not yet ripe to move forward on the boundary dispute with Eritrea . The Prime Minister said he would not send a team to attend a meeting called by the EEBC, but was not opposed to a future meeting. Meles maintained that resolution of the border issue was dependent on Eritrean President Isaias accepting a dialogue on normalizing relations...”

Vicki Huddleston wrote:

“…Meles' stated position remains unchanged. Progress on the border can proceed only if Meles is assured of a dialogue with Eritrea on normalizing relations and Isaias receives equal assurance of demarcation of the border. Potential elements for moving both parties proposed by the EEBC discussed are "open borders", allowing free movement of people without restrictions after demarcation; and giving full authority to the EEBC to demarcate the border, including areas where there are "anomalies and impracticalities." Ultimately, when both sides view the necessity for peaceful bilateral discussions, resolution of the border will become a greater priority…”

2. UN REQUESTS USG ASSISTANCE TO MONITOR AND RESOLVE ERITREA-ETHIOPIA CRISIS-
10/28/2005

·  “…Legwaila stated that following Ethiopia's demobilization of 150,000 troops before 2003, PM Meles had told him that Ethiopia's strategy was to isolate Eritrea and wait for it to implode economically. According to Legwaila, Meles's five-point peace proposal of November 2004 therefore represented a shift in policy, and reflected an attempt to engage Eritrea constructively in talks. Legwaila explained that Article 416 of the cease-fire agreement called for the UN to deal with the consequences of demarcation (e.g., in providing funds to resettle those in border areas that would be transferred among parties). Whereas the UN was originally envisioned as providing humanitarian or technical assistance, Ethiopia now sought to invoke the article to have the UN play a larger political role, Legwaila said. Eritrea, however, has explicitly rejected contacts with both the SRSG and with UN Special Envoy for Ethiopia and Eritrea Lloyd Axworthy…”

· “…Upon the announcement of the EEBC's decision in April 2002, Ethiopia's foreign minister hosted a celebration and issued a statement hailing the decision as a victory for both parties; however, Ethiopia had not realized that Badame had been awarded to Eritrea. The reason for this is the the EEBC did not identify Badame so it took sometime for the experts to determine to whom Badame had been given. Legwaila observed that delimitation of the border (i.e., determining where it lies) was complete, whereas demarcation (i.e., placing physical markers) was stalemated. Delimitation of the border had been conducted professionally and impartially, Legwaila said, through an Asmara-based chief surveyor armed with GPS equipment and assistance from New Zealand experts, and with aerial mapping conducted by a Swedish company. Demarcation would reflect the boundaries determined by delimiation -- there would be very little change, e.g. Badame would remain in Eritrea…”

· “…Ethiopia's general objection to demarcation lies partially in the August 2003 demarcation directives, Legwaila explained, which instruct surveyors to confirm the EEBC's delimitation of the border. Specifically, an instruction for surveyors to confirm a line between "point 9 and point 6" would serve to have them reaffirm the EEBC's decision that places Badme on the Eritrean side. Ethiopia cannot accept Badme as Eritrean territory, Legwaila explained, as doing so would compel Ethiopia to recognize that it was the aggressor when entering Badme during 1998 hostilities…”

3. A/S FRAZER AND UNMEE SRSG DISCUSS NEXT STEPS ON ETHIOPIA-ERITREA BORDER-8 February 2006

· “…On January 19-20, AF Assistant Secretary Jendayi Frazer, AF Special Assistant Kendra Gaither, and AF Military Advisor COL Kevin Kenny, accompanied by Charge, DATT, and deputy pol/econ counselor, visited the following sites on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border: -- Adigrat, Sector Center headquarters for the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), manned by UNMEE's Indian battalion (INDBATT); -- Zelambessa, in UNMEE's Sector Center; and -- the disputed town of Badme, currently under Ethiopian control but awarded to Eritrea in the April 2002 decision of the Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission (EEBC). The USG delegation met only with UNMEE officials at Adigrat and Zelambessa. On January 20, the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) airlifted the delegation to Badme. A young NCO assisted with Amharic interpretation as the group moved throughout Badme, speaking at random with male and female residents of Badme, ranging from young schoolchildren to the elderly, in what was clearly an unexpected visit. The local administrator of Badme said that Badme had 5,000 residents. The delegation also met with UNMEE military observers (MILOBs) at UNMEE's Badme team site….”

· “…She said she had a better understanding of the challenges Meles faced in implementing the EEBC decision, citing the "strong impression of Ethiopian identity in Badme." She said that residents of Badme were well-informed and opinionated, spoke with "the passion of a people invaded," and had criticized the EEBC decision as unjust, unfair, and unbalanced. Badme villagers, including a one-legged man who said he was prepared to sacrifice his remaining leg, claimed that they would rather go to war than live under Eritrean administration. Elders, who spoke Amharic rather than Tigrinya, asserted that Eritrean President Isaias had banned a traditional song whose lyrics identified a nearby river as the boundary…”

·  “…Meles had told A/S Frazer that he accepted the EEBC decision, and that the GOE's caveat that it accepted the decision (only) "in principle" came as a suggestion offered by the UK. For Meles, the problem was the implementation of the EEBC's decision, for which he seeks dialogue with Eritrea, she added. SRSG Legwaila said that Meles dropping the caveat would be a positive development, which would then allow the international community to push Eritrea. Legwaila noted that "in principle" did not appear in the GOE's January 16 memorandum on the border situation submitted to the UN Security Council. Legwaila agreed not to publicize Meles' flexibility on "in principle," however…”

Jendayi E. Frazer’s comments are very telling of her ill intentions and desire to appease Meles Zenawi. This is what the cable says:

· “…Meles had told A/S Frazer that he accepted the EEBC decision, and that the GOE's caveat that it accepted the decision (only) "in principle" came as a suggestion offered by the UK. For Meles, the problem was the implementation of the EEBC's decision, for which he seeks dialogue with Eritrea, she added. SRSG Legwaila said that Meles dropping the caveat would be a positive development, which would then allow the international community to push Eritrea. Legwaila noted that "in principle" did not appear in the GOE's January 16 memorandum on the border situation submitted to the UN Security Council. Legwaila agreed not to publicize Meles' flexibility on "in principle," however. Amb. Frazer said that even if Meles were to drop the caveat, the GSE may not necessarily welcome it. She explained that she had informed EPFDJ head of political affairs Yemane Ghebreab, who was visiting Washington and then Paris, of her trip to the border, and had told him that the next steps needed were: a meeting of the Witnesses (including the U.S., AU, and EU) to the Algiers Accord, a meeting of the EEBC, and then the beginning of demarcation. Yemane responded that only the EEBC, not the Witnesses, had the mandate and legal authority to demarcate the border; that Ethiopia must accept the decision "as is"; and that the USG delegation had visited "occupied territory." Amb. Frazer said she had reminded Yemane that Badme was sovereign Ethiopian territory until demarcation…”

Vicki Huddleston, US Charge D’Affaires considers Ethiopia ’s occupation as an “advantage” for Ethiopia . In her comments she writes:

“…Progress on demarcation, however, is another matter. It is clear from our visit to Badme that local Ethiopian authorities are making no preparations to transfer Badme to Eritrea , and that local sentiment strongly opposes the EEBC decision. While it is important for the United States to build on the momentum generated by A/S Frazer's visit, the parties may have their own strategic interests for maintaining the status quo. As SRSG Legwaila observed in a January 19 briefing to the USG delegation (septel), prior to its visit to the border, if the border is not demarcated, then "advantage Ethiopia ," as Ethiopia currently occupies all the contested areas…”

4.ETHIOPIA: PM MELES ON SOMALIA- ERITREA BORDER AND CJTF-HOA- 15 June 2006

Meles Zenawi told Vicki Huddleston, US Charge D’Affairs and CJTF-HOA Commander Rear Admiral Rick Hunt on 13 June 2006 that Ethiopia would attend the June 15 EEBC meeting in the Hague, but believed the “process was a dead end” and would soon break down because Eritrean Isaias had not yet committed to peace.

“…Meles said that Ethiopia 's bottom line was that there had to be discussions on problem areas of the border. The EEBC, he claimed, was eating away at that bottom line a little bit at a time. The PM recalled that the EEBC had said that the boundary had already been demarcated -- a position Ethiopia could not accept. "If we go ahead with demarcation without any commitment to dialogue, we will have given away everything that we have been working for over the last several years." He added that Ethiopia could not sign on to some consultant's view of anomalies in the EEBC line…”

5. MOVING FORWARD ON BORDER IMPASSE TO  AVOID CONFLICT -09/20/2007

·  “…Meles faces tough opposition with the powerful Central Committee, particularly with the hard-core Tigray leaders who wield authority within the committee. Meles has always indicated in very private meetings that he is willing to compromise on Badme if it would bring sustainable peace, but it would cost him his prime ministership. Until there are signs of compromise from Eritrea towards an Ethiopian solution (normalization of relations in conjunction with demarcation), Meles is stuck in the current impasse…”

·  “…Despite the fact that neither side appears ready to resolve their problems, Post believes as a result of the continued seriousness of the border impasse, actions must be taken to avoid war. Bilateral relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea are deeply interwoven, adversely affecting the demarcation process. Resolution of the bilateral problems must be addressed as part of the resolution of the demarcation impasse. Demarcation of the border will not sustain peace and will exacerbate divisions unless a comprehensive package dealing with the fundamental differences of the two countries are also addressed. Ethiopia,s position of bilateral (normalization talks) discussions and Eritrea,s expansion of the battlefield to include arms sales in Somalia to undermine Ethiopian security have made the demarcation process complex. Post views the current situation as serious and recommends following actions be taken to avoid conflict and re-engage parties…”

· “…Both Witnesses and UNSC declare firm commitment to a demarcation process and recognizes the EEBC process and its decision to demarcate by map coordinates. However, the Witnesses and UNSC must not/not take any action to enforce such a decision and must clearly and unequivocally declare that both parties ultimately must resolve their differences directly and demarcate the border…”

6. MELES ON ERITREA, THE ONLF, AND THE OGADEN -30 August 2007 (Yamamoto)

· “…In an August 27 meeting with the Ambassador, Prime Minister Meles said that the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) has no legal basis to demarcate the Ethio-Eritrean border by geographic coordinates. He argued that while Eritrean President Isaias may remove the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) from Eritrea, Meles does not expect either war or an improvement in the situation…”

· “…In light of his long personal relationship with Isaias, seeking Meles' insights on tactics to use in pressuring Isaias and the GSE could be fruitful…”

7. ETHIOPIA PRIME MINISTER URGES AMBASSADORS FROM UN SECURITY COUNCIL STATES TO REMAIN NEUTRAL ON THE BORDER-23 January 2008

“…Prime Minister Meles called in the local Ambassadors from UN Security Council member states on January 21 to urge them to advise their respective representatives in New York to remain neutral during discussions by the UNSC on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border and extension of the mandate for the UN Mission to Eritrea and Ethiopia (UNMEE). Meles emphasized that Ethiopia opposed any UN endorsement of the decision by the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) of November 2006, finalizing the border through map coordinates or "virtual demarcation…”

8. TALKING POINTS FOR ETHIOPIA-ERITREA CONSULTATIONS-25 January 2008

OBJECTIVES: USUN should seek to: (1) extend UNMEE's mandate for six months; (2) continue the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ); (3) avoid discussion of the Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission's demarcation decision by map coordinates and any pressure for the parties to implement it; (4) support the SYG's efforts to engage the parties; and (5) support efforts to lift restrictions on UNMEE, especially the current fuel crisis.

9.ETHIOPIA FIRM ON LEAVING ALGIERS PROCESS IF UN SUPPORTS VIRTUAL DEMARCATION-28 January 2008

“…Seyoum stated that his letter argues against "virtual demarcation." Further, the letter argued that the EEBC cannot demarcate the border by coordinates without the agreement of the parties. The Foreign Minister added that the EEBC is not a legal body; it is a creation of the parties to help with the delimitation and demarcation process of the border…”

10. ETHIOPIA: ASSISTANT SECRETARY FRAZER AND PRIME MINISTER MELES DISCUSS KENYA, SUDAN, SOMALIA, AND ERITREA-6 February 2008

“…Meles added that the EEBC's "virtual demarcation" decision of November 2006 was not in accordance with the Algiers process and should not be supported or affirmed by the U.N. Meles has told the international community in the past that the border is symptomatic of deeper bilateral problems between Ethiopia and Eritrea and that the way forward is through direct dialogue between Eritrea and Ethiopia on the fundamental differences that divide the countries and which gave rise to the border conflict before demarcation can be peacefully implemented. Without this step, there can be no lasting peace between the two countries…”

11. DEMARCHE REQUEST ON ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: FUTURE OF UN PRESENCE, POSSIBLE TARGETED SANCTIONS ON ERITREA-1 March 2008

· “…Department [US State Department]requests action addressees in Security Council capitals to approach host governments, in cooperation with other Security Council members as useful, to discuss the future of UNMEE and how the Security Council should address the challenge posed to its authority by Eritrea. Department requests USUN to do the same with appropriate UN Missions in New York….”

· “…Potential options include: -Imposing a travel ban on key Eritrean government officials. -Placing an assets freeze on these same officials and/or other Eritrean assets/resources. -Imposing trade, investment, or other restrictions related to Eritrean resources, including mining. -Imposing an arms embargo on Eritrea…”

12.ETHIOPIAN FRUSTRATION WITH THE UNSC OVER THE BORDER-13 May 2008

Judging from the cable written after Meles Zenawi’s meeting with Ambassadors, Donald Yamamoto knew exactly what the regime in Ethiopia meant by “dialogue” and said so in his cable. Yamamoto wrote:

“…Both Meles and Isaias agreed to abide by whatever decision the EEBC made. While we cautioned both parties to consider an appeals process into the agreements, both refused. Meles has been pushing dialogue as a means to change the EEBC's final demarcation decision. We and the Witnesses fully support dialogue, but only in the context of normalizing relations and discussing the consequences of demarcation, not adjustment of the EEBC's decision. Ultimately, any adjustment of the decision must be made by the parties themselves as it will be up to the parties to implement the decision…”

As for the new proposal that Meles Zenawi was offering, this is what Yamamoto had to say:

“…It would be useful if the UNSC reiterates its support for the Algiers Accord and Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, and emphasizes the parties' responsibilities and commitments therein. We strongly recommend that Ethiopia not propose a new "regime" or set of agreements to be negotiated to determine how to settle the border and the problems between Ethiopia and Eritrea . This would prove messy, would raise questions on how we proceed with resolution of the border, and would mean the end of the Algiers process…”

13. SCENESETTER FOR VISIT OF AMB. RICE TO ETHIOPIA-7 May 2009

“…Meles appears content to allow the status quo with Eritrea continue with no resolution of the border impasse, and he would not welcome any new attempt by the UNSC to engage on this issue. For Meles, the Algiers Agreements and the EEBC decision are "dead," having expired when President Isaias ejected UNMEE from Eritrea in 2008. He is disappointed that the UNSC did not take action against Asmara over its unprecedented expulsion of the UN peacekeeping force. Meles has repeatedly told U.S. officials that the issue can be revisited when there is a new government in Asmara, possibly under a new mechanism to demarcate the border. He believes that he "can wait Isaias out," and that sooner or later, the Eritrean people will rise up and depose Isaias…Meles believes that the UNSC has not adequately punished Isaias over his actions regarding the Eritrea-Djibouti border issue. Both Meles and the AU are supportive of UNSCR 1862, but both are opposed to any attempt by the UNSC to link resolution of the ER-DJ border issue to the ET-ER border impasse…”

14. ETHIOPIAN CHARGE EAGER TO SANCTION ERITREA; AGREES TO CONSIDER NEW BORDER DISPUTE STRATEGY-17 August 2009

In a 13 August 2009 meeting with Tessema, the Ethiopian Charge, Susan E. Rice suggested that Ethiopia come up with another demarcation plan and she also “proposed that a third party could offer some legitimacy to the demarcation project”. According to the 17 August 2009 cable, Susan E. Rice met with the Ethiopians to work on the sanctions resolution against Eritrea . In addition to her discussions about the stand alone sanctions against Eritrea :

“…Ambassador Rice lamented the lack of progress over the last nine years on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border dispute while pressing Ethiopia to regain the "moral high ground" by presenting a new demarcation plan, stating that some Security Council members may wish to reference the dispute in a new sanctions resolution. Ambassador Rice said that by making progress on the border issue, Ethiopia would underscore its commitment to peaceful neighborly relations, placing the onus on Eritrea to take the next step. Tessema urged Ambassador Rice to avoid drawing a parallel between sanctioning Eritrea and resolving the border dispute, stating that Ethiopia has always been ready to engage, but Eritrea has refused dialogue. Tessema explained that without participation from Eritrea, complete border demarcation is impossible due to ambiguities created by the Border Commission's 2000 decision that must be jointly addressed. Ambassador Rice explained that Ethiopia 's strategy of engaging Eritrea in dialogue is now dated due to its entrenched isolationist position. She emphasized that Ethiopia should instead create a new demarcation plan to address the border anomalies that does not require engagement with Eritrea…”

15. A/S FRAZER DISCUSSES SUDAN AND SOMALIA WITH FCO, DFID -27 November 2006

“…A/S Frazer expressed appreciation for Lord Triesman's earlier offer of whatever support the UK might be able to provide to facilitate resolution of the Eritrea/Ethiopia boundary dispute, including use of the prestigious Lancaster House where historic agreements have been concluded in the past. She said the USG has tried to revive the Boundary Commission process, but Isaias would not engage. Triesman admitted he was not sure who could get Isaias to respond LONDON 00008106 003 OF 003 positively, and Lloyd added "it's not clear we're the right people," because Eritrea sees the UK as biased in favor of Ethiopia . Triesman was open to Dr. Frazer's suggestion of a possible co-chair arrangement involving the UK and Norway . Both sides agreed that the Boundary Commission's intent to proceed with "virtual demarcation" would do more harm than good. The British indicated they were working indirectly to nudge the Commissioners away from that course of action…


16. ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: SRSG ENNIFAR ON THE FUTURE OF UNMEE, BORDER UPDATE-10 April 2008

“…In Eritrea's view, demarcation was no longer an issue because the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission's (EEBC) demarcation decision by geographic coordinates had settled the boundary issue once and for all. (C) Stephanides [Joseph Stephanides is UNMEE Addis Ababa Head of Office] opined that Eritrean President Isaias had determined to remain firm on his hard-line stance to wait until the next administration in Washington to "deal with the Democrats." He said Isaias would remain inflexible and may even backtrack, but that Isaias would have to show his cards in July when the UN would have to decide on UNMEE's future. (Note: Stephanides, in a separate meeting with PolOff on April 8, criticized the SYG's report noting that paragraph 49 undermined the possibility of establishing a mission on the Ethiopian side of the border because it states that, "...such a mission could be perceived by one party as freezing the status quo and serving the interests of the other..." He also noted that paragraph 51 would anger the Ethiopians because it called into question Ethiopia 's commitment to the EEBC decision and that the report came dangerously close to an endorsement by the SYG of the EEBC's demarcation by geographic coordinates. Paragraph 51 notes that, " Ethiopia 's position that the demarcation coordinates determined by the (EEBC) are invalid...raises questions about its commitment to accept the final and binding status..." He emphasized that any endorsement of the "virtual demarcation" by the UN would drive the Ethiopians to leave the Algiers Agreement.)…”

The regime in Ethiopia and its sponsors continue to peddle Ethiopia’s precondition, “dialogue”, to prolong the “no war, no peace” situation as Ethiopia’s occupation of Eritrea continues. But the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission eloquently stated in its 16 Report to the UN Security Council

“…Ethiopia is not prepared to allow demarcation to continue in the manner laid down in the Demarcation Directions and in accordance with the timeline set by the Commission. It now insists on prior “dialogue” but has rejected the opportunity for such “dialogue” within the framework of the demarcation process provided by the Commission’s proposal to meet with the Parties on 22 February. This is the latest in a series of obstructive actions taken since the summer of 2002 and belies the frequently professed acceptance by Ethiopia of the Delimitation Decision…”

12 December 2013 will mark the 13th Anniversary since the siging of the Algiers Agreements between Eritrea and Ethiopia. The UN Security Council ought to shoulder its moral and legal obligations and call on the regime in Ethiopia to vacate from sovereign Eritrean territories and restore Eritrea’s sovereignty.

The rule of law must prevail over the law of the jungle