Eritrea: Can A Captive Nation Negotiate A Lasting Peace Deal with Its Adversary?


By Drs Tsegezab Gebregergis

On April 2 2018, on the day Abiy Ahmed delivered his inaugural speech to the Ethiopian parliament, and also on another two occasions, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia has categorically declared that his country is ready to accept and fully implement the Algiers agreement signed in 2000 between Ethiopia and Eritrea. In response to the Ethiopian peace overtures, after a guarded silence for more than two weeks, the Eritrean dictator, speaking at a Martyrs’ Day event in the capital, told his captive audience that he would send a delegation to Addis Ababa to find out the position of the new Ethiopian Prime Minister and to “chart out a plan”.

There can be no doubt that the idea of making peace with Ethiopia is a noble cause that must be supported by all Eritreans. However, the manner in which the Eritrean dictator has reacted and is managing the peace process with Ethiopia is deeply flawed and as far as this writer is concerned its outcome could never be in the national interest of Eritrea and its people. Nor will it promote the cause of peace, stability and democratic governance in Eritrea.

This is because Eritrea and its people, under the megalomaniacal and illegitimate rule of Issayas Afeworki and his henchmen, are dispossessed of all instruments of political power and all checks and balances, dispossessed of wealth, dispossessed of their youth and way of life and dispossessed of national honour and dignity.

In other words, Eritrea today is under the total possession of an internally nurtured, ruthless and murderous enemy that is destroying Eritrea piece by piece.

In short, under the fascist rule of Issayas Afeworki and his regimented and indoctrinated political disciples, Eritrea is a captive nation. And as a matter of principle and of practical necessity, an imprisoned nation cannot and does not negotiate with its adversaries until that country and its people succeed in breaking the chains that have kept them in bondage and servitude and until political power is at last placed in the hands of democratic and patriotic forces.

Thus, after all is said and done, the overthrow of the fascist PFDJ regime should be the top priority of all democratic and patriotic Eritrean forces, rather than the border issue per se. After all, the root causes of the 1998-2000 Eritrean/Ethiopian war was not a border issue at all. In other words, the border issue was only used as a pretext to conceal the truth surrounding the outbreak of that nasty war.