Frazer Vs. Bolton: Someone’s Lying

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Today, Jendayi Frazer who had openly and vocally defended and supported Meles Zenawi's obstruction of international law, invasion and occupation of Somalia finds herself defending her actions and denying Bolton's accusations

[Africa News Update]

In his recently published memoir - "Surrender Is Not An Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad" (Threshold Editions) - former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton states that in February 2006, Jendayi Frazer, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs informed him that she wanted him to “reopen" the 2002 EEBC decision (Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission).

Bolton describes his surprise at Frazer's position, because in January 2006, he had gotten the Security Council to agree to a Frazer-led "U.S. initiative" on the border issue. Bolton believed that the "Initiative" would focus solely on the expeditious implementation of the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission's (EEBC) Final and Binding decision delivered on 13 April 2002.

He was in for a surprise. Here is what he wrote on the now infamous Page 347:  "For reasons I never understood Frazer reversed course, and asked in early February to reopen the 2002decision, which she had concluded was wrong, and award a major piece of disputed territory to Ethiopia. I was at a loss how to explain that to the Security Council, so I didn't." 

Eritreans who had always suspected the State Department’s underhanded and illegal attempts to amend, change, revise and reverse the Final and Binding EEBC decision in order to appease their ally, Meles Zenawi, the leader of the mercenary minority regime in Ethiopia, were not surprised by Bolton's revelations.

Today, Jendayi Frazer who had openly and vocally defended and supported Meles Zenawi's obstruction of international law, invasion and occupation of Somalia finds herself defending her actions and denying Bolton's accusations by presenting even more contradictory statements on the Eritrea Ethiopia demarcation issue and US policy.

Jendayi E. Frazer, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs has responded to Bolton's allegations-she denies having such a conversation with him and in a recent interview with Aljazeera TV, repeated that denial.

For those of us who have documented her numerous unwarranted attempts to amend, revise, and reverse the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission's Final and Binding decision are surprised by her denials and her actions vis a vis the Eritrea Ethiopia border demarcation are a matter of public record.

In this sitting, I would like to address the inconsistencies in the Assistant Secretary of State’s public statements. Before I do that, let us take a look at Jendayi Frazer's response to a question posed to her during a 30 November 2007 State Department Press Briefing. Here is an excerpt: Question: "..Can I just ask one more very briefly on the Boundary Commission thing? Former Ambassador Bolton has written in his book that you in February of 2006 told him that you wanted to reopen the Boundary Commission’s 2002 decision and to give the area or parts of the area around (inaudible), to award that which had been already granted to Eritrea to Ethiopia. Is that correct."

Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer’s Response: "No. Thank you for asking the question. I actually haven’t read the book, so I am surprised that I even feature in it. But I can assure you unequivocally that I've never advocated for reopening the boundary decision, the EEBC decision on the -- you know, the land, the delimitation line. In fact, we've been very clear that we accept the delimitation line. The issue was how do you move from delimitation to demarcation. And I've always advocated that that has to involve dialogue between the countries because, clearly, territory that was Eritrea’s has been given to Ethiopia, territory that's Ethiopian has been given to Eritrea. That's what drawing straight lines typically does. And so not to reopen the decision, but rather to have a dialogue about the demarcation, including options of open borders so that the people on the borders can move back and forth. And that really is, I think, just a matter of how do you implement the decision, not reopening or questioning decisions. So I could say without --unequivocally that I've never advocated for changing the delimitation decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission."

In an interview with Aljazeera TV on 3 December 2007, she was again asked to comment on Bolton's allegations and was given the opportunity to listen on tape, an excerpt from John Bolton’s recent appearance on the same program. Here is an unofficial tran scri pt of Jendayi Frazer's response: "This is the first I have heard John Bolton speak on it and I have not had a chance to read his book and I can say unequivocally that he got it wrong. I never shifted any of US government policy or my own position about the delimitation line the EEBC drew a delimitation line. Both parties agreed that it would be final and binding  and that has always been the US government's policy. I never shifted any official policy and it’s always been our policy and I don't understand really where Bolton got the idea that I had somehow shifted policy. What we said was that to demarcate that border let's accept the delimitation decision as final and binding as it is both parties agreed to that and we need to now mover towards demarcation. We need to find a way to deal with some dialogue between the countries because it affects the local communities at on that border. In fact that delimitation line gives land that belong to Eritrea to Ethiopia and land that had been previously considered Ethiopia to Eritrea. That's fine, they both agreed final and binding. But now we are now still stuck with how do we get the border demarcated and I can't see a way ahead except that the two countries themselves come forth and dialogue to demarcate the border so I am sorry to say but Ambassador Bolton is either misinformed about that or I can imagine that maybe someone told him that but he certainly didn’t get that from me."

Well, considering Jendayi Frazer's very vocal and hostile anti-Eritrea statements in the last year or two, and the unprecedented diplomatic and political cover she personally guaranteed the minority regime in its illegal war of aggression, invasion and occupation of Somalia, I am inclined to believe John Bolton's version of the truth.

If we were to go back and re-visit some of the news reports at that time (early 2006), Bolton would come off as the more credible of the two. Suffice it to mention her repeated attempts to interfere in the work of the EEBC and repeated efforts to hijack the EEBC's sole mandate of demarcating the Eritrea Ethiopia border.

Let us take a look at her track record. After visiting Badme, a sovereign Eritrean territory under Ethiopian occupation, in an interview on Voice of America’s “Straight Talk Africa" on February 1, 2006, she exposed her sinister motives when she made the following statement: "I think in terms of the issues of Badme it is beyond Badme. It is that the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission has made a decision on delimitation. It has to now do the demarcation. And the important point is to get that demarcation started. In order to demarcate you have to have dialogue between the two parties because the Algiers Agreement basically says that the demarcation has to be done according to what is just and reasonable. And I think that just and reasonable is how does it affect the communities that live on the border? For example, if the delimitation line separates a person's house from their farm, one has to adjust the line or compensate the farmer; and so that is the just and reasonable aspect. And so that requires some dialogue."

She wanted to adjust the line and she had the person to do it for her. It should be recalled that George Fulford, who she figured could serve as a "technical facilitator" to the EEBC, accompanied her on her trip to Badme. We also know about the "satellite technology” map that she and General Fulford tried to introduce at an EEBC meeting in the spring of 2006. We also know that General Fulford "rather unwisely, wrote to Eritrea 's Legal Counsel that he was seeking operational latitude to shift the boundary by about 1Km"

Allow me to remind Jendayi E. Frazer of the EEBC's mandate under Article 4.2 of the Algiers Agreement, which clearly states: "The parties agree that a neutral Boundary Commission composed of five members shall be established with a mandate to delimit and demarcate the colonial treaty border based on pertinent colonial treaties (1900, 1902 and 1908) and applicable international law. The Commission shall not have the power to make decisions ex aequo et bono."

Ex aequo et bono means that the Commission was not to take geographical and other considerations when making its decision. It was not to make its decision on what it considers right or "just and reasonable.” Both parties agreed to that when they signed the Algiers Agreement. There are provisions in the Algiers Agreement that address the humanitarian and other issues that may arise during demarcation. In an interview with Voice of America (VOA) on 22 November 2007 Frazer again repeated her doublespeak: "The main concern is that we clearly state that they need to resolve their problems, particularly on that border through diplomacy, through the U.N. process that's underway. So we are very much backing the United Nations that is trying to resolve the border conflict and we certainly do support the U.N. boundary commission, the Eritrea-Ethiopia boundary commission on the work that it did on delimitation. That border needs to be demarcated and that demarcation is going to require dialogue between the two, so diplomacy and dialogue are necessary."

Jendayi E. Frazer knows very well that the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) has produced with full participation of the two parties demarcation directives and orders that fully address the concerns raised above. She also knows that the EEBC has on several occasions invited the parties to discuss the implementation of the EEBC decision and that Ethiopia has rejected such dialogue on demarcation.

In case the Assistant Secretary of State has forgotten, allow me to refresh her memory, lest she continues to embarrass herself while trying to defend the indefensible conduct of the minority regime led by Meles Zenawi. Jendayi E. Frazer must know that Ethiopia rejected an invitation by the Boundary Commission to participate in a meeting scheduled in London for 22 February 2005 with a specific agenda, to discuss the issue of border demarcation.

In its November 2006 Statement, the EEBC in its listing of Ethiopia's violations and obstructions to its work listed Ethiopia's rejection of the 22 February 2005 meeting for dialogue on demarcation: "rejecting the Commission's invitation to a meeting to be held on 22 February 2005 on the ground that the meeting was premature, would be unproductive and could have an adverse impact on the demarcation process, as a result of which the Commission was obliged to cancel the meeting (February 2005)."

Most recently, in a September 28, 2007 letter by the President of the EEBC to the UN Secretary General, the EEBC once again exposés Ethiopia's deceptive calls for "dialogue" which is its way of renegotiating the Final and Binding decision. Here is what the EEBC President wrote: "Even if all of Ethiopia's conditions were met by Eritrea, Ethiopia would not commit itself to anything more than discussion on demarcation."

That means that the regime in Ethiopia still wants to re-negotiate the Final and Binding decision and is not prepared to allow for the demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border. Jendayi Frazer must know that the minority regime'scall for "dialogue" is the same old tired old deceptive time buying gimmick used to frustrate the EEBC, force it to leave and hope for the creation of an "alternative mechanism".

For the sake of peace and stability in the region, the Assistant Secretary of State should stop encouraging Meles Zenawi's deceptive flip flopping tactics and call for the unconditional end to Ethiopia's occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories.

Today there is some rumblings about a "UN plan" for the demarcation of the Eritrean Ethiopian border. The only plan that needs to be promoted is the EEBC plan. The UN does not have any mandate to create an "alternative mechanism" to replace the EEBC. It should instead secure Ethiopia's compliance and cooperation with the EEBC for the unconditional and expeditious demarcation of the border, and request that the EEBC return to complete its sole mandate under the Algiers Agreement.

The Security Council must condemn Ethiopia’s continued occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories and call for the full restoration of Eritrea's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Ethiopia must unconditional and immediately remove its forces from sovereign Eritrean territories and Jendayi E. Frazer must stop encouraging Meles Zenawi's belligerence and lawlessness with her ill-advised calls for "dialogue".

The US Administration should stop its obstruction of justice and the rule of law. The rule of law must prevail over the law of the jungle.



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