In recent weeks the Foreign Ministry of Ethiopia has purported that the demarcation of its boundary with Eritrea was nothing more than “legal nonsense.” Indeed the virtual demarcation is a far cry from the physical border posts that were initially to be constructed. However, after three quarters of a decade trying to construct the actual border posts the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC), which was charged by both countries as the neutral arbiter resolved to demarcate the border in the most practical manner possible.
Since the town of Badme was determined to be in Eritrea, Ethiopia has prevented the demarcation of the boundary. By the terms of the agreement signed with Eritrea, giving the EEBC the authority to delimit and demarcate the border, Eritrea and Ethiopia agreed to accept the result.
Ethiopia has asked for reconsideration based upon the needs of local villagers. The EEBC itself was expressly forbidden from consideration of ex aequo et bono;(Agreement Between Eritrea and Ethiopia) rendering Ethiopia’s call for review forbidden under the Treaty.
Ethiopia’s claim that the virtual demarcation is simply “legal nonsense” (Ethiopia rejects “virtual” border with Eritrea) was in response to the Government of Eritrea’s acceptance on 16 January 2008 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release) of the “virtual demarcation.” The virtual demarcation was done according to international practice, and recently was done to demarcate the border between Iraq and Kuwait in 1993.
Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, unlike Meles Zenawi’s Ethiopia, eventually followed the letter of the agreement and recognized the border that was virtually demarcated.