November 30, 2004
Ethiopia accepts Eritrean border "in principle"
This seems like a huge story to me - a possible way out of one of the continent's most frustrating conflicts. But it got relatively little coverage outside the wires.
Ethiopia OKs Ruling on Border With Eritrea
Thu Nov 25, 5:43 AM ET
Ethiopia (AP) - Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told parliament Thursday that Ethiopia has decided to accept "in principle" a disputed ruling on its border with Eritrea made as part of peace deal four years ago.
Ethiopia had until now refused to respect the April 2002 ruling by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, part of the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague (news - web sites), Netherlands.
Ethiopia still believes that the commission's finding was "illegal and unjust" but has decided that peace is more important to the country, Meles told lawmakers.
It was a bave decision for Meles Zenawi to make. Many people here will not be happy about it, even though it does open the door to a final settlement between the two countries. I fell back on the old foreign correspondent's trick of intervierwing a taxi driver about it as he drove me to the House of People's Representatives. He said: "It is good for Eritrea but bad for us. So many people died in the war and now we are just giving up."
Predictably, Eritrea was officially hugely suspicious about the whole thing. Eritrea Daily yesterday said "Ethiopia's 'acceptance in principle' is a gutter ploy crafted to fake acceptance and reopen a legally closed and settled matter."
I suppose Eritrea has good reason to be uncomfortable about the whole thing. Ethiopia's acceptance now puts the ball firmly in Eritrea's court.
Posted by aheavens at November 30, 2004 10:22 AM