Speaking in Kyiv, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said that “it is unacceptable in the 21st century for countries to attempt to redraw borders by force in Europe or intervene militarily because they don’t like a decision their neighbors have made.” Biden called on Russia to “respect the country’s territorial integrity”. The US Vice President also called on Russia to “fulfill commitments it made” and the Vice President called on Russia to “”Do what you agreed to do”.
Having met and chatted with the Vice President on election night in Chicago, I found him to be a straightforward person and have no reason to believe that he was merely parroting a scripted narrative, mere words to appease an ally Ukraine, and to annoy Russia. So if the US Vice President believes in respecting international law, abiding by agreements signed and finds it unacceptable in the 21st century for countries to redraw borders by force in Europe-why not use the same standards with its ally Ethiopia, in Africa, and call on the belligerent minority regime to abide by international law and respect its treaty obligations?
Vice President Biden must know that Ethiopia, US’ ‘staunch ally’ in the Horn of Africa, willingly and consciously signed the Algiers Agreements in December 2000, bringing an end to the bloody 1998-2000 “border conflict” between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
The Algiers Agreement was signed in 2000 in Algeria by H.E. President Isaias Afwerki for Eritrea and by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi for Ethiopia and witnessed and guaranteed by the then Secretary General Kofi Annan representing the United Nations, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of the Democratic Republic of Algeria, former President Obasanjo of Nigeria, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright representing the United States, Secretary General, Salim Ahmed Salim representing the OAU, and Senator Renato Serri representing the European Union.
Vice President Biden must also know that the Algiers Agreements, brokered and authored by the US State Department, called for the delimitation and demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border and that punitive actions would be taken against the party that did not abide by its treaty obligations.
Vice President Biden must also know that the independent Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) delivered its final and binding decision on 13 April 2002 and while Eritrea accepted the decision, Ethiopia rejected it and refused to abide by the EEBC’s demarcation directives.
Vice President Biden must also know that Ethiopia has refused to abide by its treaty obligations and continues to occupy sovereign Eritrean territories, including Badme, the casus belli for the conflict. He must also recall that the EEBC unequivocally awarded Badme to Eritrea.
Ethiopia also continues to ignore over a dozen UN Security Council Resolutions on the Eritrea Ethiopia border issue. All attempts by US lawmakers to urge Ethiopia to abide by its obligations under the Algiers Agreements have been thwarted by the US State Department for the last 12 years.
The Algiers Agreement which was adapted and endorsed by the UN Security Council clearly spells out what must be done by the UN Security Council if any of the two parties refuse to comply. Article 14 of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement states:
“…the OAU and the UN Commit themselves to guarantee the respect for this commitment of the parties. This guarantee shall be comprised of measures to be taken by the international community should one or both parties violate this commitment, including appropriate measures to be taken under Chapter 7 of the Charter of the United Nations by the Security Council…”
So, when is the Obama Administration going to call a spade a spade and ask Ethiopia, its ally, to respect international law, abide by agreements it has signed, and attempt to redraw borders by force, and do what it said it would do?
Mr. Vice President, there cannot be double standards and different set of rules for Europe and Africa. US credibility, integrity and reputation will be further undermined if it continues to apply double standards in its international dealings…
What is good for the goose must be good for the gander…