The logic at Foggy Bottom is almost as elusive as the Company men, but it seems for once the fog may be clearing. In a recent State Department statement1 (from the Embassy in Asmara), the United States has stated, that it supports the Eritrean position (that demarcation must begin before normalization of relations). This seems to be a significant statement, one that has been alluded to before, however was disputable because of its actions contrary to it. Ethiopia must beware that its primary patron is beginning to cool towards it.
Of course this does not suggest that the United States is warming to Eritrea, or even that they is a significant change in position towards Ethiopia, however the small shift in language may point to a similarly small shift at the State Department. If this is the case it may be particularly distasteful for Ethiopia because its obstinance is what has prevented the physical (virtual having been completed) demarcation of the border.
The real consequence of this statement is trivial unless of course it marks a point of inflection in the United States Department of State’s position towards Eritrea. If it has in fact recognized that Eritrea has been victimized by its obedience to the letter of the Agreement2, it could be a bargaining tool to push Ethiopia to comply with its agreement. Of course optimism in the region is hard to find as Ethiopia’s diplomatic history indicates that this will not be the case. Of course Eritrea has always persevering and beat the odds so optimism in regards to Eritrea is always suggested!