Fetsum: On the Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship between Eritrea and Ethiopia
The Eritrean people have been in different mood swings ever since PM Abiy announced his full acceptance of all the international verdicts on the border conflict between the two countries. Yet, many people have been
The Eritrean people have been in different mood swings ever since PM Abiy announced his full acceptance of all the international verdicts on the border conflict between the two countries. Yet, many people have been speculating different things because of the Eritrean regime’s total opacity on anything vis-à-vis the people. We have been experiencing all types of emotions from fear to doubt, anger to suspicion, desperation to relief just because the dictator exclusively does everything concerning the country in secrecy and total absence of transparency with his very few blind followers in the ruling class.
Looking at a video taped in Asmara suggests that the hard pressed people have been excited about the situation. It has been too long for this to happen and so is normal for them to expect the end of their suffering as a result. Some demonstrators were saying “hade hizbi ina” “Andnen”; God knows what they mean; and the people received the expressions with different emotional states. Although I was part of the group in this classification, there was really nothing I could conclusively say about the situation until something appears from the regime, which finally did. We have the beef now that we must concentrate on and carefully dialogue on with maximum respect and rationality.
But first, on the people’s “Hadeina or Andnen” theory: The fact that we are people of the same origin and religious and cultural affiliations is not new to both societies (Ethiopia and Eritrea). We know we are all people of the same origin but certainly with different socio- political experiences that molded the ETHIOPIAN and ERITREAN identities at the same time of their actuality. We are products of colonialism that shaped the identities of all third world societies to legally remain as peoples of the same origin with different countries like all other countries in this category. We, however, don’t have to be peoples of the same country because of our common origin for there would be no borders on planet earth, otherwise. Check this out!!
“Spanish Speaking Countries. Depending on how you count, there are 22 Spanish speaking countries in the world. The five most populous countries where Spanish is the official language are Mexico, Colombia, Spain, Argentina, and Peru.”
“The Arab World consists of 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa: Algeria, Bahrain, the Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.”
Comment: All the societies from the 22 countries are Hispanics/Spanish by heritage and the societies from the other 22 countries are Arabic by heritage. Our history is similar to these societies, needless to say many others like the Somalian-Ethiopians, Somalian-Kenyans, Gambella and South Sudan, Gambia-Senegalese, Ghanaians and Nigerians, and almost all societies in the orient have the same roots but different political experiences that justify their legal sovereignty in view of the universal understanding of nations. All third world boundaries are artificial as Dr. Abiy put it in words in so far as colonial effect is concerned but significant for our peaceful coexistence without which no law and order can prevail on planet earth. We have no other choice to accepting our artificial boundaries and living with it because no society can reverse the situation imposed on the third world by colonialism without violence. What we need with the Ethiopians is CONCEPTUAL UNITY and not physical unity because the two countries are sovereign by universal book that no leaders can ever change without complicating the lives of both societies.
In so saying, we could have said many things and still interpreting things in many different ways but the most important matter in the development in my opinion is the five abiding points the two leaders signed in Asmara despite the fact that the dictator does not represent the Eritrean people because he is a negative force illegally sitting on the chair by sheer injustice and violence. Coming back to the point, the official Eritrean Ministry of Information released the following information about the subject matter on the table:
“The governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea have reached the following joint agreement which reflects the desires and aspirations of their peoples:-
- The state of war between Ethiopia and Eritrea has come to an end. A new era of peace and friendship has been opened.
Comment: I love this agreement and found it to be good to both sides so that the people can fearlessly and peacefully live in their perspective territories. I accept this agreement as a person without any analysis because there is no price for peace and we deserve it to the limit based on our destructive past.
- The two governments will endeavor to forge intimate political, economic, social, cultural and security cooperation that serves and advances the vital interests of their peoples;
Comment: This is very good to both sides so that the people can cooperate in many ways based on their interests. We have yet to see the specifications but the economic, social, cultural cooperation at equal significance level of the relationship is welcome in my opinion. But, what do SECURITY COPERATION and POLITICAL COOPERATION mean in this context?
Security cooperation between nations: This may include cooperation between the armies, air-forces and navies of the two countries for a common cause. The question is how may this apply to them and against what threat? One can probably talk about cooperation on the Egyptian effect in relation to the Nile River and in view of Ethiopia’s interest here but what else may be in synch with this cooperation? How may this cooperation affect the roles of the two nations in the REDSEA considering their agreement to use the two Eritrean ports for Ethiopian commerce in general? What would be the Ethiopian role here vis-à-vis READSEA security in the absence of NAVY as a result of its landlocked status in the region? Does Ethiopia have these types of cooperation with the other neighboring countries in the region (Sudan, Somalia and Djibouti) and how may the situation differ in our case? How may this cooperation in security affect the Eritrean opposition forces in Ethiopia in the absence of Ethiopian opposition forces in Eritrea?
“Political Cooperation. Being more of a concept than a term, political cooperation broadly denotes the governments of differing states working together toward a common goal. … Probably one of the most famous examples of political cooperation is the United Nations.
“Bilateralism is the conduct of political, economic, or cultural relations between two sovereign states. It is in contrast to unilateralism or multilateralism, which is activity by a single state or jointly by multiple states, respectively. When states recognize one another as sovereign states and agree to diplomatic relations, they create a bilateral relationship. States with bilateral ties will exchange diplomatic agents such as ambassadors to facilitate dialogues and cooperation’s.”
Based on the definitions herein and my brief understanding of the matter at hand, I feel like the two governments signed the document as it reads at equal level of nationhood. They are equally represented here as equal partners of the deal. I, therefore see nothing wrong in this situation that should worry the Eritrean people in so far as their sovereignty is concerned. The question is whether the dictator can show words in action. Will he adapt transition to democracy like what is going on in Ethiopia from a single party state of political structure and safely exit from the political life of the country like President Rawlings of Ghana did in his country? How about the political prisoners and the constitution? Is he going to take serious steps to improve his relationship with the people in general? Will he accommodate the opposition camp as substantial partners of the Eritrean politics? Is he going to lift the 2% illegal taxation to encourage Eritreans for economic development in the country or persisting on the BS while allowing the Ethiopians to economically excel in our country? We will see what he will do about the issues on the table but the dictator cannot continue his dictatorship as he smoothly did it in the past. He should use the opportunity to simplify his life by taking positive actions immediately, including democratizing the country and moving on with his wealth to any country of his preference. This is the time for him to show amnesty to the Eritrean people in exchange to amnesty from them; only if he is smart!
- Transport, trade and communications links between the two countries will resume; diplomatic ties and activities will restart;
Comment: I don’t see anything wrong here and I accept it without contemplation. The relationship in these regards are not specified as yet but it is obvious there will be rules and associated regulations like how other countries do it with each other. The agreement asserts that they will allow their embassies in both countries as two sovereign nations in the bloc and this is the most basic requirement of normalizing relations between two feuding countries.
- The decision on the boundary between the two countries will be implemented.
Comment: I believe all other things that they signed would be meaningless and extremely dangerous without this specification in their agreement. The two countries cannot live peacefully without fully recognizing each other and the most basic action to this effect remains to be defining their boundaries by the book (according to The Hague verdict) and applying it immediately on the ground before anything else. They have put it in writing now and all they have to do is marking it on the ground as soon as possible and moving on forward. I believe this agreement precedes all other agreements between the two countries as a prerequisite for their successful implementation. This agreement has to be practically implemented as the first essential requirement for the declared normalization of relationship between the two countries to succeed. Once again, they must tell the people when they will do it because “The decision on the boundary between the two countries will be implemented” remains to be final and unconditional by law, indefinite and meaningless without specifying time, otherwise. Once this issue is practically implemented, the relationship between the two countries will develop at a faster rate without any problem. Without this, however, Eritrean will remain suspicious and insecure about any type of relationship with the Ethiopians and I DON’T BLAME THEM!
- Both countries will jointly endeavor to ensure regional peace, development and cooperation.
Comment: I don’t see any problem with this clause and I believe these are points we all wants to see taking place between the two countries.
In conclusion; the weight of the overall agreement lies on the balance of agreement number 4. Agreement 4 is the key to everything we Eritreans do with the Ethiopians in the future and I hope PM Abiy understands this reality and act upon by expediting the border demarcation as the first most important matter of the engagement for sustained peace and prosperity in our region. We need to specifically know when they will start demarcating our borders. In the mean time, it is clear that the dictator has one more time the opportunity to settle his case with the Eritreans by being smart and practical. He has many choices to safeguard his life by reconciling with the Eritrean people to the point of earning AMNESTY in exchange for transiting the society to democracy. The choice is his but we have not seen any positive action yet and we are not going to wait any longer.
The fact remains that we want justice to prevail in our society and the struggle should intensify stronger than in the past through conceptual unity of the civic society to freedom. Neither the peace agreement with Ethiopia, lifting of the sanction or the anticipated temporarily relief from the international pressure will rectify the fundamental difference between the dictatorship and the people. The peace agreement between our countries has nothing to do with the antagonistic contradiction between the dictatorship and the Eritrean people. The agreements (1,2,3,5) are policy based agreements that can change by the decision of the next governments in both countries but agreement 4 is the key for everything in between that must be respected forever. In the mean time, the occasion demands down-to-earth approach to the problem from all opposition groups based on the exclusive interest of the people. We should now empower our people to earn their legitimate spot as the supreme power in our society for every activity against the regime belongs to the people. We Eritreans should get ready for the next challenge (TRANSITIONAL PHASE) by taking the subject matter as the most important political goal of the struggle against dictatorship. We have to collectively study how to transit our society to democracy right now and agree on a common strategy to this effect before the downfall of the dictator as proposed by the CONCEPTUAL COMMITTEE of the DENVER FESTIVAL. We cannot afford to face the transitional phase without preparation and this remains to be the most outstanding and decisive challenge of our people that must be collectively resolved within the next SIX MONTHs as agreed upon in the DENVER SINIT FESTIVAL by the conceptual committee of the festival. The development has opened a great opportunity for the Eritrean opposition groups to reconcile their conceptual differences based on the transitional phase of the society. I will write about the DENVER FESTIVAL as soon as possible and I wish the upcoming ATLANTA FESTIVAL similar success from the bottom of my heart.