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Touring through Eritrea
November and December 2006
 
Asmara and surroundings
November and December 2006
 

 

Asmara Eritrea - December 2nd 2006

 

The night was long, so I sleep until 10:00. With no specific appointments today, I find myself a breakfast in one of the bars in Harnet Avenue, and spend the rest of the day describing interesting walks through Asmara, passing many examples of Asmara's wide range of architectural styles, sites associated with the war of independence and many beautiful views from the edge of the plateau.

My hobby (which is spelled H O B B Y, for any Ethiopians reading my diary, thinking I am being paid by the Eritrean government to be one of their information outlets) is to show potential tourists what Eritrea has to offer. I started writing these information pages in 1998 and the - generally positive - feedback of both Eritreans and potential visitors of Eritrea is extremely encouraging. And so are the very few Ethiopian comments, usually dominated by accusations, like me being a liar. If I ask them to specify one "lie", they usually keep quiet.

My efforts, and those of the Eritrean Ministry of Tourism and the Eritrean tourism service providers, have hardly resulted in any increase in number of tourists visiting Eritrea in the last ten years. I guess the most important reason is the ever lasting Eritrean - Ethiopian conflict, the "no war no peace" stalemate *), discouraging potential tourists to visit Eritrea, and frustrating economic development of both Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Despite the keen quest and wish for peace of the Eritrean people, the current Ethiopian regime has done little more than delaying the peace process, in an attempt to undermine the Eritrean government and delay Eritrea's economic and social and development, hoping their policy will result in an outcome that will be more beneficial to Ethiopia than a negotiated peace.

Recently I received an e-mail message from one of those Ethiopians who do read my stories, complaining about "the lack of subjectivity of an outsider". Please be reminded that the subjectivity of the decisions of the International Court of Justice in The Hague regarding the demarcation of the Eritrean Ethiopian border, is still disrespected by the current Ethiopian regime. As long as the Ethiopians do not respect the subjectivity of internationally recognized organisations, they should not complain about the lack of subjectivity of an "outsider".

And, apart from the double standards on subjectivity, I stopped being an outsider a long time ago. Even an Ethiopian should be smart enough to realize you cannot isolate this issue to Eritrean - Ethiopian polemics on a governmental level. As a regular visitor of Eritrea, I am a close witness of the "situation". I observe the "success" of the Ethiopian regime to make millions of people in the region suffer from their current international policy. These observations are not of a lesser importance than any other issues in my diary.

  

Alliance Francaise - Asmara Eritrea.

Alliance Francaise - Asmara Eritrea.

Shops and apartments - Mai Bela Avenue Asmara.

Shops and apartments - Mai Bela Avenue Asmara.

Kidane Mehret Church (detail) - Adi Quala Street Asmara.

Kidane Mehret Church (detail) - Adi Quala Street Asmara.

Railway station - asmara Eritrea.

Railway station - Asmara Eritrea.

Gheza Kenisha Evangelical Church - Afabet Street Asmara Eritrea.

Gheza Kenisha Evangelical Church
Afabet Street Asmara Eritrea.

Souvenirs - Adi Quala Street Asmara Eritrea.

Souvenirs - Adi Quala Street Asmara Eritrea.

Apartments - Asmara Eritrea.

Apartments - Asmara Eritrea.

Catholic Cathedral - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Catholic Cathedral - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Offices of the British and American Tobacco Corporation - Felket Street Asmara Eritrea .

Offices of the British and American Tobacco Corporation
Felket Street Asmara Eritrea .

Women refining grains - Barentu Street Asmara Eritrea.

Women refining grains - Barentu Street Asmara Eritrea.

 


*) December 12, 2000 Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a peace agreement in Algiers, after a 2 1/2-year border war.

Article 4, sub article 15 reads as follows: “The parties agree that the delimitation and demarcation of the Commission shall be final and binding. Each party shall respect the border so determined as well as territorial integrity and sovereignty of the other party”.

On April 13th 2002 the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague published the conclusions of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission.

In September 2003 Ethiopia's Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, formally informed the Security Council that Ethiopia rejected the decisions of the International Boundary Commission (arbitration of the International Court in the Hague). He declared the proposed 1 000 km international border drafted by the commission as "null and void".

This disrespect of Ethiopia for the decisions of the Court of Justice in The Hague has practically halted the peace process. Still the UN needs to live up to its responsibility of ensuring the implementation of the final and binding resolution of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission's ruling on border delimitation.

 

 
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