BY BRUH METSAE
On December 23, 2009, Eritreans inside and abroad were at a total loss to learn the imposition of UN sanction against their beloved country. And the swift action they took on February 22nd, 2010 denouncing the UNSC Resolution 1907 and demanding for justice was a reflection of their displeasure towards such illegal and unjust act against a sovereign nation.
The conspiracy against Eritrea by certain members of the world body is nothing new and is well documented. The infamous speech on December 1950 by the then Secretary of State John Foster Dulles which paved the way for annexation of Eritrea by Ethiopia, resulting in a long and bitter armed struggle is one chapter in our history that will not be forgotten.
In reference to Eritrea’s legitimate call for independence, the US Secretary of State was quoted as stating on his address to United Nations member states:
“ From the point of view of justice, the opinion of the Eritrean people must receive consideration. Nevertheless, the strategic interests of the United States in the Red Sea Basin and world peace make it necessary that the country be linked with our ally Ethiopia.”
Following independence, the people and government of Eritrea, not dwelling on their past experience, worked diligently to normalize relationship with United States and many others who opposed the just struggle for independence and supported Ethiopia’s hegemonic and expansionist policy towards Eritrea.
Unfortunately, as it takes two to tango, all attempts by Eritrea to solve differences diplomatically received a deaf ear. The recently leaked cables by Wikileaks revealing how the Eritrean government attempted on several occasions to reach out for the Obama and Bush Administration to normalize relations between the two countries without success is but a clear case that invalidates the notion of a lack of cooperation by the former.
Eritrea is a sovereign state that gained its respective membership within United Nations after conducting a world observed referendum in which 99.8% of its citizens voted for independence. As such, it’s within its legal right to adopt policies and regulations as it sees them fit to preserve and maintain its sovereignty and national security. It has paid heavy price to achieve its independence and reclaim its sovereignty.
While willing and is working with any nation on a basis of mutual respect, Eritrea does not and should not allow its sovereignty be tampered with by anyone and under any circumstances.
The UNSC Resolution 1907, which Dr. Susan Rice handed over on December 23rd, 2009, was nothing but a continuation of the old U.S. policy designed to subjugate the people of Eritrea and undermine their sovereignty. And, it was an illegal and unjustifiable act based on unsubstantiated and fabricated report with regard to Somalia’s conflict.
As oppose to how Susan Rice attempted to present the resolution as “African initiative”, the reality is that it is the “offspring” of three major actors, from conception all the way to birth. The late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the man who ignited war against Eritrea in 1998 under a false territorial claim, found the Somalia situation as the best opportunity to weaken Eritrea. As the self-appointed Chairman of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, Zenawi was at ease to making the proposed Sanction look an African initiative.
Uganda’s president and one of U.S.’s main ally on war on terror, Kaguta Museveni, has worked hand and glove with Meles Zenawi in drafting the sanction and seeking African support for its implementation. Other than been a close friend to Zenawi, many people are at loss as to what made the Ugandan leader behave awkwardly towards Eritrea.
To talk about Dr. Susan Rice’s involvement on this matter would be repetitious and a disservice to those who have written volumes detailing her political role in the region from as far back as 1998, the period during which she was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.
Suffice to say that Susan Rice, as UN Ambassador to the U.S. mission and as a woman with a personal grudge against certain personalities within the Eritrean leadership, finds the situation as a great opportunity to punish Eritrea.
To say that she was the mastermind and main facilitator in the implementation of the UNSC Resolution 1907 would be no less than accurate. The sad part is that the current U.S. Administration is blindly following Dr. Rice’s biased political stance towards Eritrea and is not showing any form of flexibility in normalizing ties.
In contrary, and in spite to the recommendations by several reputable U.S. Congressmen who expressed dismay over their government’s misguided policy towards Eritrea, the White House continues to portray Eritrea in a negative way.
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Today, some eight years after the unfair sanction was imposed on Eritrea, the people and government of Eritrea are marching forward in bringing about positive and tangible changes in the country. And the world is waking up from its long sleep and making notice of the tremendous progress registered thus far.
Please refer to recent UN report on Eritrea’s impressive achievements in meeting Millennium Goals. Today, Eritrea has one of the lowest HIV and infant mortality rates in the continent. Clinics are opening in every village, catering the health needs of their inhabitants; Micro and macro dams are being built across the country to conserve water and enhance growth of agricultural products; large investment has been made to improve the education system, both in terms of quality and quantity.
That by no means infer that it is all perfect and that there certainly are areas that need improvement. Be that as it may, Eritrea was able to make such astonishing accomplishments with its hands tied; punished for crimes it has no part of.
One can only imagine the level of progress the country could have achieved had it not been subjected to this illegal and unlawful sanctions.
As we look back and remember that unfaithful day on December 23, 2009, the day UN passed unjust sanction against Eritrea, the people of Eritrea every where must reaffirm their commitment towards their country by calling, once again, for the annulment and repeal of UNSC Resolution 1907 that has no moral or legal basis.
Likewise, they must demand that United Nations, as a world body, lives up to its responsibility and uphold the international law enshrined on UN charter with respect to sovereignty and territorial integrity of each of its members, big or small.