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Neutralizing Impending Threats to The Eritrea-Ethiopia Peace Agreement.

Abiy Ahmed, right, and Isaias Afwerki at a signing ceremony hosted by King of Saudi Arabia on Sept. 16. Photographer: Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Kingdom Council/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images


Neutralizing Impending Threats to The Eritrea-Ethiopia Peace Agreement.

“Respecting each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

Ethio-Eritrea Peace Agreement.

Signed September 16, 2018, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

After a devastating border war and subsequent Ethiopia’s no war no peace policy imposed on Eritrea, in the recent nine months, Eritrea and Ethiopia have begun a long and arduous journey to peace. This overture could be labelled as the most significant devolvement in the Horn of Africa for nearly two decades. The peace agreement between the two countries opens the door for economic, political, security, social cooperation and peaceful coexistence. However, it also comes with its threats and challenges that need to be neutralized before they become big enough to bring the two countries back to the era of suspicion and war. In this article, I like to do my part in identifying these threats and putting some suggestions on ways to overcome them. Accordingly, I categorize the discussion on the threats to the peace agreement into History, Media, Economy and Politics.

History

Looking back in history, it is hard to believe that the dark era that started with Haileslasse’s annulation of the federal arrangement between Eritrea and Ethiopia, on November 14, 1962, and followed by armed struggle for independence and subsequent border war, lasted for 50 years. During the 50 long years, lives were lost, people were uprooted from their villages and infrastructure was destroyed. At the center of such conflict was Ethiopian ruler’s persistent effort to keep Eritrea under Ethiopia at any cost. Unfortunately, although in a smaller scale, such ill-advised policy that resulted in the destruction of the two countries still remains a threat to the peace full co-existence and development of the two countries. Some misguided Ethiopian Amhara elites and TPLF losers, that found it hard to swallow their pride and accept that Eritrea is an independent country, still consider peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia as a strategy to accomplish their old dream to bring Eritrea back to Ethiopia. On the opposite side, Eritreans think peace with Ethiopia is an opportunity to safeguard their hard-earned sovereignty and live with their Ethiopian brothers and sisters in peace. Accordingly, the first point of the Jeddah peace agreement is “respecting each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity”. Not adhering to such important corner stone of the peace agreement poses a threat to the overall peace agreement and future relations of the two countries. Therefore, unless Ethiopian Amhara elites and TPLF losers come to terms with Eritrea became a United Nations recognized independent country a quarter century ago, and enjoys internationally recognized borders, peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia will remain elusive.

Media

Nowadays with the prefiltration of the mass media, energized by the advent of the internet, any one from any corner of the world can disseminate information to millions of people in a blink of an eye. Although such development in digital technology can be considered very positive phenomenon, it has its own series dangers. Non-government entities and actors that control the mass media and harbor hidden objectives can control the minds of unsuspecting followers and use them to achieve their hidden agenda. Currently, such developments are becoming inherent in Ethiopia. In this regard, I like to mention two recent major incidents in Ethiopia related to Eritrea. In a recent Vision for Ethiopia conference held in Addis Ababa, Shaleka Dawit Weldegioris suggested a monument should be erected for Ethiopian solders who died in Eritrea. Mind you Shaleka Dawit wants to Erect a monument in Eritrea for the Ethiopian soldiers who burned the village of Una with its inhabitants, run over Eritrean civilians with Tank chains in Shieb and off course indiscriminately burned Massawa and its inhabitants with Israeli napalm bomb. Such suggestion shows how distant those Amhara elites are in their thinking and a clear indication that they are a danger to the future relationship between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

The second recent incident is the act of eliminating Eritrea from the map. People might think this was an honest mistake that was committed by overzealous individuals who were overconsumed by the happiness that came from the victory of Ethiopian Athlete’s in the marathon in Dubai. Such thinking is flawed and baseless. How long does it take to prepare the map? Why in Dubai? Despite the enormous protest by Eritreans why did the Ethiopian embassy in the UK left the erroneous map in its webpage for two full days? The act of eliminating Eritrea from the map is a deliberate strategy that is perpetuated by Haileslaissie and Derg sympathizers who are using Ethsat as a propaganda machine to advance their agenda. Such ideology is propagated by none other than former Derg sympathizer and orchestra comedian Tamangn Beyene and spearheaded by other Ethsat journalists. Messai Mekonen’s rage when the current prime minster of Ethiopia announced that he would accept the Alger’s agreement with Eritrea without precondition was a clear indication that ungrateful Haileslassie and Derg sympathizers are well and alive. It is true that in the past Eritreans have supported Ethsat and even now many of the Eritrean websites post Ethsat news as major source of information about Ethiopia. That is why when the map incident in Dubai occurred many Eritrean tried to reach out to Ethsat and requested it to denounce the unfortunate incident. Ethsat gave a deaf ear to their request because it is the main architect of such propaganda. As a result, instead of looking for excuses, Eritrean’s need to clearly identify the impending threat coming from such groups and respond to it appropriately. Such action could extend to erasing them from Eritrean mass media and labelling them as ungrateful enemies of Eritrea.

Economy

All previous Ethiopian rulers, with no exception, saw economy as a major tool to weaken Eritrea and subsequently achieve their dream of bringing Eritrea back to Ethiopia. If some people thought the last 20 years no war no peace policy imposed on Eritrea was only related to the border, they were wrong. It was a long-term strategy to buy TPLF time to grow Tigrai at the expense of Ethiopia and ultimately develop an economic and military capacity to control Eritrea. In their assumption, in the long term, when Eritreans face an economic hardship it would be natural for them to see south for job and other economic opportunities. That opens the opportunity for TPLF to win the hearts and minds of Eritreans and ultimately bring Eritrea and Tigrai together as one independent country. Thus, history tells us that for their own reasons, Ethiopian Amhara elites and TPLF losers used economy as a tool to weaken Eritrea. The sad part of the story is, even though it is in a smaller scale and losing steam, such hidden interest still exists in Ethiopia. When the borders between Eritrea and Ethiopia were opened, we have heard a lot of complaints by Ethiopian media about fuel being transported to Eritrea illegally, bread being a scarce commodity in Tigrai because it was exported to Eritrea, Ethiopian traders losing money in Ethiopia because of the exchange rates etc. When the Eritrean government put restrictions on the border trade, the same media that complained about the opening of the border started to blame the Eritrean government for putting restrictions. The truth is taking the manufacturing industry development in Ethiopia and Eritrea into consideration, Ethiopia will benefit from opening its borders with Eritrea significantly than Eritrea. For good or bad, for years Eritrea has been a self-sustaining country. Opening the border with Ethiopia without restrictions will destroy the small-scale industries that have been highly dependent on the Eritrean domestic market. As a result, as Ethiopians continue to complain about the economic relationship between Eritrea and Ethiopia, Eritrea needs to stop the deaf diplomacy and show that they are hurting themselves. Thus, the recent restriction on the border that Eritrea placed was not only a good answer to the cry by many Eritreans, but also the right response to Amhara elites and TPLF losers that they cannot play the economy card anymore.

Politics

Sadly, in the mind of Ethiopian Amhara elites and TPLF losers, Ethiopia needs to get everything with nothing giving in return to Eritrea. Such kind of thinking is a reminder and continuation of the bankrupted Haileslassie, Derg and TPLF loser’s policy agenda against Eritrea. After the peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia was signed, Eritrea contributed to the peace in Ethiopia significantly. Eritrea gave up thousands of opposition groups that it nurtured over the last twenty years, it dropped its precondition of Ethiopian withdrawal from Sovereign Ethiopian territory and agreed to open its borders for trade. As part of the peace agreement, Ethiopian Airlines is flying to Eritrea more than a dozen times a week. It is using Eritrea’s Airspace for its flights to European and Middle eastern countries, that helped it to save millions of dollars in fuel cost. Ethiopian ships are doing business in Eritrean ports. Above all the Ethiopian government enjoys the full support of the Government of Eritrea. What did Eritrea get from Ethiopia in return? One may mention the lifting of the sanction, which should have never happened in the first place. Therefore, Eritreans need to think beyond the deaf diplomacy of their government and be proactive in their response to the unfairness and injustices that comes from Ethiopian Amhara elites and TPLF losers. The Eritrean government policy is short term sacrifices for long term benefits. The problem with such thinking is, in politics nothing is taken for granted. Things can change in the blink of an eye and it doesn’t take much time for your good will and sacrifices to be taken as signs of weakness. Prior Eritrean government’s investments in diplomatic relations with the TPLF losers and the President of Sudan brought nothing but unimaginable loss. It is time for the Eritrean government to rethink its policy. Durable long-term benefits need to build on incremental short-term benefits.

Conclusion,

The peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia had been long overdue but was hijacked for two decades by TPLF greedy and corrupt tugs for their ulterior motives. Due to mistaken and misguided policies adopted by successive Ethiopian rulers, the two brotherly and sisterly people of Eritrea and Ethiopia lost a lot for over five decades. However, for the new peace agreement to be sustainable it is important for Ethiopians to live up to the terms and sprits of the Jidda agreement. Any ill thinking and hidden agenda that uses Eritrea as a playing card to come up to power in Ethiopia will be fought hard not only by Eritreans but also Ethiopians. As a result, Ethiopians need to adhere to the Jeddah agreement that is clearly stated as “respecting each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity” as a corner stone for sustainable peace.

Abel Kebedom,

Victory to the Masses.
Eternal Peace and Glory to our Martyrs

Previous articles by Abel kebedom.

1. Eritrea the way forward. By Abel kebedom. Madote.
2. Migration from Eritrea: Man Made Or Following A Global Trend? By Abel Kebedom. Madote.
3. The Mouthpiece of TPLF, Aiga Forum, Goes Berserk. By Abel Kebedom. Madote.
4. Can the Chalabis of Eritrea learn from the Chalabi of Iraq? By Abel kebedom. Madote.
5. Peter Pham, Long Time Susan Rice’s Confidant, wants to Set off the Trump
Administration on a Wrong Foot in Africa. By Abel kebedom. Madote.
6. Abay Tsehaye: The Current Chief Administrator of TPLF Colony Called Ethiopia. By Abel
kebedom. Madote.
7. U.S. Implicated in the Horrific Sniper killings of Innocent Women and Children in Ethiopia.
By Abel kebedom. Madote.
8. TPLF’s New “Agaiazian” Agenda is The Old and Worn-out “Tigrai-Tigrigna”. By Abel
Kebedom. Madote.
9. TPLF’s Crude Insult to Eritreans: Forget the EEBC Verdict, Just Sing a Song for Peace.
By Abel Kebedom. Modote.
10. TPLF: The Art of Re-branding Pilot as Senay Gebremedhin. By Abel Kebedom. Madote.
11. Eritrean opposition member accuses Meron Estifanos of committing treason: By Abel
Kebedom. Madote.
12. TPLF Must Learn from Its Mistakes and Start Working for the Future of Tigray: By Abel
Kebedom. Modote.
13. The Peace Between Ethiopia and Eritrea is Inclusive, is Tigrai Ready for it?: By Abel
Kebedom. Madote.
14. TPLF: Using Unsuspecting Refugees for Political and Military Agenda is a Crime. By
Abel Kebedom. Madote.
15. TPLF’s "Old Policy Number Two" in the Face of New Reality. By Abel kebedom.
Madote.
16. TPLF's Effort to Antagonize the People of Tigray with other Peoples of Ethiopia and the
Horn of Africa is a Leadership Myopia. By Abel kebedom. Madote.
17. Eritrean Diaspora: Some Important Issues That Require Discussion. By Abel kebedom.
Madote.

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