Ethiopia-Eritrea: Shabait says Badme is theirs, the conflict over the Badme triangle… never ends…

Even before the economic issue became important, however, in July 1997, Ethiopian forces occupied part of the Badda District, a small, remote, but more fertile area close to the Danakil depression, and replaced the Eritrean administration in the village of Adi Murug. The claim was on historical grounds, and based on the “inaccuracy” of current maps. The most widely used map of Eritrea, published in 1995 by the Eritrean Government in cooperation with the University of Berne, shows only Eritrean territory; neighbouring countries are simply marked in grey. Unhelpfully, this map shows neither Adi Murug nor Badme nor places just across the Ethiopian border, such as Zalambessa. Despite its claims, the map presented by the Ethiopian government to representatives of the international community in Addis Ababa in May 1998 showed the border in the same way as in all current atlases. A month later, however, the provincial authorities in Mekelle (Tigray) produced a different map – funded, in their case, in cooperation with the German government which showed several areas hitherto considered part of Eritrea coming within the Ethiopian border” (Margaret Fielding – ‘BAD TIMES IN BADME: BITTER WARFARE CONTINUES ALONG THE ERITREA-ETHIOPIA BORDER’ – IBRU Boundary and Security Bulletin Spring 1999).

The Tripartite Alliance are still very active and there is reports of furthering the war in the Tigray Region. The reports that the Eritrean Defence Force has been stationed and vital in the warfare in the Tigrayan war of late is an understatement. The EDF has been one of the reasons why the Tigray region was invaded and they occupied it whole for some time. That was a retaliation of old grudges and wanted to settle old grievances. Therefore… that Shabait brings back the Badme Triangle.

Shows that the Eritrean government planned all along to annex and get the territory, which has been contested. The Ethiopian government has also claimed this land and the Badme Territory. Now, the Eritrean government claims it theirs and that the recent peace agreement of 2018 is stating so. This means the Tigray Regional Government have to give up this territory and let the demarcation of the border continue. That is evident and the Eritrean government does this… as they have allies in Addis Ababa and wants Mekelle to know that.

Here is the most interesting parts of the Shabait piece published today:

When TPLF’s military campaigns was thwarted by a costly defeat at the Assab Front in June 2000, it was finally forced to accept cessation of hostilities and later the entire Algiers Peace Agreement on December 12, 2000. The Algiers Agreement created a court of arbitration, the EEBC. The Algiers Agreement also stipulated, in categorical terms, that “the parties agree that the delimitation and demarcation determinations of the Commission shall be final and binding”. But notwithstanding the unequivocal provisions of the Algiers Agreement, the EEBC decision was not enforced by the UN Security Council because principal sponsors – especially the US and the EU – failed to honour their obligations for their own narrow geopolitical considerations. When the EEBC decision was announced, Seyoum Mesfin, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister at the time falsely claimed that “Badme was awarded to Ethiopia”. He urged the international community to use punitive sanctions if necessary, to secure Eritrea’s full and immediate compliance with the provisions of the EEBC Award. The Foreign Minister and his government were soon to make a u-turn, sing a different song and reject the EEBC Award. Subsequent sessions of the EEBC were marked by Ethiopia’s dilatory tactics. Thus, in its 16th Report to the UN in 2006, the Commission was compelled to write: “Ethiopia is not prepared to allow demarcation to continue in the manner laid down in the demarcation directions and in accordance with the timeline set by the Commission.” (…) “The course of events changed when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared Ethiopia’s readiness to accept and implement in full the Decision of the Boundary Commission. Following his visit to Asmara, a Joint Declaration on Peace and Friendship was signed between Eritrea and Ethiopia on July 9, 2018. The Declaration brought to an end eighteen years of ‘no war no peace’ between Ethiopia and Eritrea and opened a new era of peace and friendship. Article four of the Joint Agreement stipulates that “The two countries will implement the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission decision.” (Shabait – ‘We do Not Relinquish What is ours; Nor do We Covet What Belongs to Others: (Natna Aynhbn Zeynatna Ayndeln)’ 13.04.2022).

We know these ideals of Badme is old by now. As it has been part of the independence of Eritrea from Ethiopia. The Eritrean government is willing to use Italian colonial maps to prove it too. That the land and territory belongs to them.

That’s why Eritrea Daily wrote this in 2005: “At worst, the status of Badme is unclear, at best, Badme is part of Eritrea and never Ethiopian. Regardless, if there is any one left that believes Ethiopia has accepted the border ruling, here is the proof to the contrary: In a clear demonstration of its defiance of the border ruling, Ethiopia today reported that it has started registering voters in the village of Eritrean Badme for the upcoming “elections.” The international community cannot remain indifferent to this Ethiopia’s provocative action?” (EDNews, 22.01.2005).

So, the Eritrean claims are old and they are pursuing them still. What is striking is the Tripartite Alliance way of violating, war-crimes and weaponizing humanitarian assistance isn’t helping the cause of Asmara. Even if the Badme triangle or parts of Badda district is belonging to Eritrea. Their forces and the acts done in Tigray region will not help them legitimizing it. Instead, there will no goodwill and no wishes of recognizing the border between the two nations. They will rather ensure the investigations into the warfare, the violations of the Geneva convention and crimes against humanity.

The Eritrean government could be within their rights and have historical basis for the territory. However, when they are known for their actions and use of force against unarmed civilians within the Tigray region. Very few to none will give them a bouquet of flowers and give the Republic more territory.

The WikiLeaks cable says this: “Legwaila, who has served as UNMEE SRSG for five years, detailed how both Ethiopia and Eritrea had initially committed to accept any decision by the EEBC, at December 2000 cease-fire talks in Algiers. Upon the announcement of the EEBC’s decision in April 2002, Ethiopia’s foreign minister hosted a celebration and issued a statement hailing the decision as a victory for both parties; however, Ethiopia had not realized that Badame had been awarded to Eritrea. The reason for this is the EEBC did not identify Badame so it took sometime for the experts to determine to whom Badame had been given. Legwaila observed that delimitation of the border (i.e., determining where it lies) was complete, whereas demarcation (i.e., placing physical markers) was stalemated. Delimitation of the border had been conducted professionally and impartially, Legwaila said, through an Asmara-based chief surveyor armed with GPS equipment and assistance from New Zealand experts, and with aerial mapping conducted by a Swedish company. Demarcation would reflect the boundaries determined by delimiation — there would be very little change, e.g. Badame would remain in Eritrea” (WikiLeaks – ‘UNITED NATIONS REQUESTS USG ASSISTANCE TO MONITOR AND RESOLVE ERITREA-ETHIOPIA CRISIS’ 28.10.2008).

Time will tell if Prime Minister Abiy will honour his peace agreement with Asmara. Which is what Shabait hopes it does. The Tripartite Alliance has been favourable for the PM and his reign. That has helped his causes and he couldn’t continue or hold on so long with warfare in Ethiopia. He needs the EDF and he knows that. Therefore, if the Tripartite Alliance is able to silence and annihilate the Tigray region. That’s what the alliance wants to achieve.

Alas, the Eritrean government is clearly saying by publishing this on Shabait. That they want it legitimized and recognized. This is the what it is initially saying. While we can wonder how Mekelle is thinking about this. Since, this is taking away territory it had occupied for a few decades now. While the current federal government of Ethiopia might offer it and do it, because Abiy has a good relations with Afewerki. Peace.

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