Global Policy Forum

Ethiopia Unhappy with UN's Outlook


By Ghion Hagos

Panafrican News Agency
July 1, 1999

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Ethiopia has expressed misgivings about last week's statement by the UN Security Council on the 13-month old border conflict with Eritrea.

Ethiopia's discontent was expressed in a letter written by Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin to the president of the Security Council in New York. The minister blamed the Council for its inability ''to take a firm and principled stand in defense of international law'' as regards the border conflict with Eritrea, saying Ethiopia was the victim of unprovoked aggression and continued occupation of its territories by the aggressor (Eritrea).

Seyoum's letter was in reply to a statement issued by the Security Council president on 23 June. The content of the minister's letter was revealed in Addis Ababa for the first time Thursday by the Ethiopian news agency (ENA). ''In his letter the foreign minister expressed surprise and disappointment over the Council's failure to reflect any understanding for Ethiopia, the victim of the aggression,'' ENA reported.

In its statement of 23 June, the UN Security Council had repeated its call for an immediate ceasefire and expressed concern that both Ethiopia and Eritrea continued to buy weapons ''while a large part of their people were facing famine.'' ENA said Seyoum was particularly furious over this, describing the council's reminder that the primary responsibility of a government was to feed its people, as ''gratuitous and unfair.'' ''This would mean that it is only the rich who have the right to defend themselves,'' the minister was quoted as saying in his letter to Baboucar-Blaise Jagne of the Gambia, who chaired the Security Council during the month of June.

''The minister stressed the fact that Ethiopia's resolve not to be distracted from its struggle to alleviate poverty was not assisted by the Security Council's preoccupation with appeasing the aggressor,'' ENA wrote.

''Under the prevailing conditions, Ethiopia and other countries in similar circumstances cannot expect justice from the Security Council,'' the minister said.

More Information on Eritrea and Ethiopia


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