Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Ethiopia's intransigence over boundary is no surprise

Financial Times - October 26th 2005

Sir

If Ethiopia and Eritrea manage to avoid another disastrous conflict ("Peacekeepers fear Ethiopia and Eritrea 'sliding into war' ", October 24), it will be no thanks to the European Union.

Some 20,000 Eritreans living in Europe petitioned the European parliament this week. The EU is a guarantor of the Algiers peace conference, which established the border commission whose decision Ethiopia has unilaterally snubbed. But instead of exerting pressure on Ethiopia, the EU has sat on the fence - even though the real fence has not yet been demarcated.

Tony Blair could use his authority as EU president to achieve something positive in this notoriously volatile region. But Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia's prime minister, is a key part of Mr Blair's cherished Commission for Africa. We should therefore not be surprised that Ethiopia continues to provoke tension by rejecting UN Security Council resolution 1622, and the findings of the international border commission which it promised to accept.

Charles Tannock
Conservative Foreign Affairs Spokesman
European Parliament