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Arbitration versus Demarcation.

Arbitration versus Demarcation.

By Tesfamicael Yohannes

Lets begin by definitions. According to the advanced learner’s dictionary of current English, (that is the only available dictionary for me at home) arbitration and demarcation are defined as follows.
Arbitration: settlement of a dispute by the decision of somebody chosen and accepted as a judge or umpire.
Demarcation: marking of a boundary or limit; separation:
Having the above definitions at hand while Ethiopia asks for arbitration of the border dispute Eritrea asks for demarcation. There is clear distinction between the consequences of arbitration and demarcation. Why Ethiopia prefers arbitration than demarcation? Why is Eritrea insisting on demarcation?
Before we proceed analyzing the case of Ethiopia and Eritrea lets first see at the dispute we had with Yemen about the Hanish archipelago.As we recall the dispute between Yemen and Eritrea was solved by arbitration. There is anger and frustration among Eritreans the way the Hanish problem is solved. Some of the problems among Eritreans that led to the anger were the assuming bad result of the dispute. Was really the result bad? Not to my understanding. The Hanish dispute solved the right way a problem to be solved. It had taken the concern of Yemen and Eritrea as minor case and the international communities interest as the major one. Since the route of the international sea had to be free neither from the Yemen nor the Eritrean dominance and it had to be otherwise international crises are to arise because of greedy decisions to be taken from one of the partners on the case. But why arbitration chosen than demarcation. Lets study the historical case of the problem. The Hanish archipelago were neither Eritrean nor Yemeni. There was an agreement between British as Yemen protectorate and Italy as colonial to Eritrea not to touch the archipelago. Yes it is true there was a light house constructed by Italians for the guide of ships. But that was done by the agreement with the British on the other side. Therefore, there was not colonial treaties or claims either by British or Italy. It is for this reason arbitration became the only viable solution to the problem. The decision taken by Eritrea and Yemen were courageous, matured and very civilized. The result was though disappointing for Eritreans but seeing the case from international stability and interest there is nothing harm done to Eritrea. Why was the land and the sea dispute decided separately. Remind that the land was solved by arbitration but the sea was solved by delimitation and delineation. Solving the sea problem it was fishing as the major interest of the case taken. And the international community had nothing to do with the fishing there. Therefore the interest of the international community was out of question. Both Eritrea and Yemen have got the lion share of the sea. Though it was more disappointing to the Yemeni for Eritrea was like compensation it lost to the land. In conclusion the dispute of Eritrea and Yemen to be handled by arbitration was fair and it ended the way it should be. We Eritreans have to be happy on this case that we have no more dispute regarding our sea border.
Lets come now to the Ethiopia and Eritrea border dispute. How it stared and the way it had been handled is left for other time analysis. Now lets concentrate on arbitration or demarcation is the proper way of solving the problem. There is colonial treaties and the border is clearly drawn by Italy as Eritrea colony and King Menlik as Ethiopian governor. Then what is the problem? It is Ethiopia’s refusal to imply it on the ground the problem. Why Ethiopia do not want to imply it? The reason is Ethiopia all the time have hidden agenda on Eritrea. The case is related with what the Ethiopians call it the corridor to the sea outlet. Ethiopia to get the sea outlet should have to be at all expenses even to the completely dismissal of the Eritrean population from the face of this world. If you ask an Ethiopian to answer on humanitarian bases from the existence of the Eritrean people or the sea outlet to Ethiopia. The first reaction he gives you is let the Eritrean people go the hell. The dispute of the border conflict with Eritrea is not as such to led to unnecessary bloodshed and waste of human and material loses of the two countries. Imagine while Ethiopians chosen to give Djibouti the right a country deserves on the contrary they work to destroy the very existence of the Eritrean people. If Ethiopians want peaceful coexistence with Eritreans the solution is demarcation. The chose of Ethiopia to arbitration is the first step to wards fulfilling the hidden agenda. What do the Ethiopians gain from arbitration that do not get it from demarcation. There is speculation that by giving some land in one place they can get compensation in other place. There is rumor that they prefer to get near Assab. They believe that arbitration would result to give them land that leads to sea outlet. They tried to prove it on ground militarily. They failed thanks to Yikalo, Warsay, Eritreans in Diaspora and the heroic people of Eritrea. In conclusion, Ethiopians want outlet to sea. The day they see it the Eritreans weakened due to internal strife they are going to strike it either militarily or by pressing to inter Eritrea to arbitration. It is the Eritrean peoples determination to remain firm to its unity that brings just solution to the problem. It has to be solved by demarcation.
Finally, we the Eritrean people while democratizing our internal situation and giving unreserved support to our government are going to come out victorious not only from the border conflict but at the same time we can win poverty and backwardness. God bless Eritrea.
Tesfamicael Yohannes
Oslo, Norway.

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