U.S. Should Honor the Algiers Agreement

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No self-respecting Eritrean can ever accept occupation of its sovereign territory for this long. Not today, not tomorrow, never!
No self-respecting Eritrean can ever accept the continued occupation of its sovereign land for such long. Enough!

By Bereket Kidane,

No self-respecting Eritrean will ever accept the fact that sovereign Eritrean territories continue to be illegally held by the TPLF-regime eleven years after the Hague-based border commission issued its ruling.

Unfortunately, the United States, despite being the chief negotiator and guarantor of the Algiers Agreement, has abdicated its responsibility as a “guarantor” in making sure the border commission’s verdict is translated on the ground in its entirety with demarcation being the final phase to conclude the boundary commission’s work. To date, although the boundary commission has completed its work by virtually demarcating the blood-soaked international line between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the Ethiopian regime continues to illegally occupy sovereign Eritrean territory in defiance of international law. No self-respecting Eritrean can ever accept that! Not today, not tomorrow, never!

This abdication of responsibility by the United States has cost the region a great deal to date in terms of lost opportunities and has been the source of instability and mistrust in the region. As the relationship between Eritrea and Ethiopia goes, so goes the region’s fortunes. If the United States is truly interested in seeing peace and prosperity reign in the Horn of Africa, it must stop giving Weyane carte-blanche on the border issue and demand that its ally Ethiopia withdraw from all sovereign Eritrean territories and demarcate the border in its entirety.

Unfortunately, in his facebook chat with African journalists the other day, the Acting Under Secretary for African Affairs, Donald Yamamoto, conveniently ignored the question and chose not to address the continued abdication of the United States’ role as the chief guarantor of the Algiers Agreement.

Normalization and cooperation can only follow once TPLF led Ethiopia withdraws from all sovereign Eritrean territories and allows the border demarcation to be completed. Nothing short of that will do to the average Eritrean or Government of Eritrean for that matter. After all, this is a cause where some 19,000 sons and daughters of Eritrea died for, defending Eritrea’s sovereignty against Weyane’s naked invasion and territorial ambition. Eritrea being a small nation with a less than one or two degrees of separation between the average citizen and a precious martyr who falls in battle defending the country’s sovereignty, this is an issue that is near and dear to every Eritrean’s heart and is non-negotiable!

Former Ambassador McMullen’s anti-Eritrea activities caused a great deal of damage to US-Eritrean relations. Recent reports of thaw in tension and the resumption of consular services at the United States Embassy in Asmara are welcome developments.

On the occasion of Eritrea’s 22nd birthday, it is the desire and wish of every Eritrean-American to see US-Eritrean relations improve. As the late Congressman from New Jersey Donald Payne used to say, “US-Eritrean relations can and should improve.” But for that improvement in relations to occur, the United States will need to remember its historic role as the guarantor of the Algiers Agreement require its ally Ethiopia to withdraw from all sovereign Eritrean territories and demarcate the blood-soaked international line for the sake of regional peace and peaceful co-existence.