Following the “irregular” IGAD summit in Addis Ababa on 25 November 2011, it is said that the organization subsequently issued a baseless statement incriminating Eritrea as usual with an outright lie that lacks any evidence whatsoever. Moreover, the statement lauded Kenya’s invasion of Somalia and called for the Ethiopian government to ‘reinforce’ the invasion.
In view of the fact that such a statement was issued at a time when Eritrea has reactivated its membership in the regional organization and embarked upon a constructive engagement with the member states to resume its sacred mission, i.e. promoting the economic and development integration of the countries of East Africa on the one hand, and when external interference in Somalia and the ensuing dire consequences has become obvious on the other, the intended objective is indeed evident.
It has become crystal clear that the groundless rumors which were concocted and circulated alleging that “Eritrea has sent 3 airplanes carrying arms to Baidowa” was after all another agenda designed to create a prelude to the aforementioned incrimination. As clearly spelt out in the Eritrean government’s message to the United Nations last week, it once again calls on the Security Council to investigate the incrimination through an independent body. Where did the planes depart from? …which route did they take? …where did they land? … to whom did they belong? …what was their type? … what sort of armaments did they carry?… at what altitude did they fly? …through which route? …how many countries did they fly over? …who were the pilots flying them? …what about their nationality? …when did they land? …who unloaded the aircrafts? … for how long did they stay there? …where did they subsequently head to? …how come the radars monitoring the entire Red Sea and the Horn region failed to detect their flight? …and what about of the 3rd country about whom charges have been made of ‘being the origin’ of the armaments? …etc. The questions are indeed many.
Whereas it is Eritrea’s legitimate right to challenge these baseless campaigns of incrimination in an open forum, the Security Council itself is duty bound to investigate issues submitted to it and thereby take the necessary measures. After all, in instances when the incriminated party is calling for jurisdiction in a free and open forum, there should be no reason whatsoever for the accuser to fear the ‘accused’ to defend itself in the open.
It is to be recalled that during its hectic preparations to invade Somalia in the end of 2006, Ethiopia, in violation of the Security Council Resolution 1725 of 6 December 2006, that called for “RESPECT FOR THE SOVEREIGNITY, TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY, POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE AND UNITY OF SOMALIA”, unfounded lies alleging that “Eritrea has sent 2,000 troops into Somalia” were circulated, in pure act of cover-up ploy for the invasion. However, when such a report was proved to be an utter lie, nobody questioned the authors of blackmail. What is even worse, the fate of journalists from the Eritrean Ministry of Information who were kidnapped from the streets of Nairobi under the false charge of being “terrorists” is not known to-date.
Eritrea’s firm stance that the “Somalia issue can only be resolved through a political process in which all Somali political forces take part and not through military means”, has become all the more apparent. The frequent foreign military interference in the guise of the so-called “mission for maintaining hope” that started in 1993, did not bear fruit at all besides further complicating the Somali issue. Amid such practical experience, the rationale behind Eritrea’s stance has once again become evident. Is it then that the repeated defamation campaign against Eritrea linking it with the Somali issue designed to cover up the truth? What is the reason for treading along the same failed approach while it has been crystal clear that the previous military adventures resulted in unprecedented human cost? What possible reasons could there be for blessing Ethiopia’s repeated invasion? Why are other countries in favor of following the same approach? Where then is the justification for the external forces that invaded Somalia in 2006 in order to stamp out the Union of Islamic Courts then branded ‘terrorist’ now trying to launch the 2nd invasion under the pretext of protecting the same entity, which it used to brand a terrorist organization? What legal justification could then be put forth for the group that once fought against Ethiopian occupation of Somalia to assume a similar position like that of the Abdullahi Yusuf administration that did not reject the Ethiopian presence in the first place. Moreover, what justifiable argument could there be to pose as the ‘Transitional Government’ in Mogadishu and bless the Ethiopian invasion now?
When the fabrications that were intertwined in order to create pretexts lacked credibility and justification with Eritrea’s just arguments, fresh tunes are surfacing like: “In order for us to believe that Eritrea is not ‘supporting’ Shabbab it has to join forces in the military adventurism in Somalia.” This blatant argument is tantamount to: “In order that I believe you are clean, put yourself in the mess I am in.”
As far as Eritrea’s stance is concerned, there should emerge an initiative that could bring viable solution for the Somali issue. The erroneous handling that further impedes the achievement of a viable solution should be rectified. Eritrea is against the baseless incrimination against it in the wake of its correct stance on the Somalia issue and also calls for rectification of its wrong handling in the name of IGAD and other regional, as well as international organizations. Furthermore, it calls for genuine efforts aimed at bringing about a lasting solution to the crisis on the basis of respect to Somalia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, political freedom and unity.