Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lost opportunities for both Eritrea and Ethiopia

By Ibrahim A. Ibrahim

September 30, 2013 - Undoubtedly both Eritrea and Ethiopia have lost immeasurable opportunity of wealth and progress that they could easily have achieved to uplift the living standards of their citizens. For this loss Ethiopia is grossly to be blamed.

It was the expectation of the peace loving citizens of both nations to see life coming back to its normalcy as Ethiopia and Eritrea accepted the EEBC ruling that was final and binding. Ethiopia as of yet to implement the ruling has become the main cause of the stand still. Recent news surface Ethiopia is willing to vacate the occupied Eritrean territory under the condition if Eritrea is to guarantee Ethiopia the use of ports. Eritrea to be fair has never stopped Ethiopia to utilize the ports of Massawa and Assab. To the contrary as the unwanted war ignited it was Ethiopia who abandoned the use of the ports. Eritrea in this case has to say it is on Ethiopia not on Eritrea if the latter wants to use the ports. Eritrea also have shown its good will as the aid was flowing to the drought affected part of Ethiopia to be used for humanitarian purposes, which Ethiopia responded negatively.



Ethiopia has many alternative gates to sea, as such Djibouti, Barbara, Mombasa and others. Having such multi source is a plus to Ethiopia and its citizens. If Ethiopia has better benefits on utilizing Eritrean ports price wise and service wise, understandably it is Ethiopia who have to determine to use the port that is beneficial to it.

But there exists more to the regional peace and harmony on the action of Ethiopia to abide by the rule of law. The whole region starting from Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia Eritrea and Ethiopia in addition to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and other countries will be affected and influenced with the fruition of the peace and harmony between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Eritrea’s forward looking stand that include the issue of Nile River, as stated officially by the government the genuine pragmatic solutions to the case. Eritrea always maintained that the issue should not be politicized but can be viewed through the perspective of economic and integration of the nations and their citizens that should benefit equally to all who have interest on it. That turns to a win – win solution.

On the issue of Somalia, Eritrea’s’ stand has been and is the case now, can be outlined as “let the world help to solve the Somali issue by the Somali citizens themselves” countries can be facilitators and can help the Somalis to come to a round table. After all these years of mayhem; it is for them to bring peace and harmony among each other, what is needed for their nation and their people. Imposing this or that kind of solution will backfire rather than help. Time and again have proofed us that imposition by other countries agenda is not the solution for peace but a recipe for animosity.

Ethiopia’s distorted accusation on Eritrea being the spoiler in Somali political arena can not be substantiating with any proof. The fact that Eritrea is calling for internal solution is pure and genuine that the owners of the case can come to lasting solution. Surely, if both Eritrea and Ethiopia together with the neighboring countries of Kenya, Uganda and others take the same stand the solution can come faster and easier to the suffering of the Somali’s once and for all.

On the issue of Sudan and South Sudan Eritrea’s stand maintained not be internationalized but resolved with in bilateral discussions. The two sisterly nations are now coming to realize that the only solution can come within the said position. President Salva Kiirs visit to Khartoum have brought the once elasticated endless misunderstanding to a conserved realistic and achievable working agenda that has shown tangible progress.

Now, it is left the case of Ethiopia and Eritrea that it should have been resolved years back. Ethiopian leaders have to exercise their leadership and lead their people by taking courageous but realistic action that is the sole solution for the case to vacate from the lands occupied by Ethiopia. Once that realistic but crucial action is taken the domino factor of peace will follow faster than of any bodies expectation, as the case of animosity ceases there.

Ethiopia can use the ports as has been the case before the war, and people to people relations will take place in the whole region that will bring us closer than ever before.

From this point people can integrate quicker and soon and become beneficiaries of peace.

The author is a former Bank of Eritrea Administrator currently resides in USA.
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