January 7, 2017

Press Release – Al-Sharq Al-awast: distorted news

In the past few days, the London-based Alsharq Al-Awsat has published – in its Arabic and English editions – a number of distorted “news stories” on Eritrea.
To embellish and rationalize the TPLF’s continued flouting of international law and its occupation of sovereign Eritrean lands, the paper gullibly parrots mendacious pronouncements of the regime’s new Foreign Minister who claims, with a straight face, that his government “has long accepted the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission ruling on Badme”.

Asharq Al-Awast could have easily checked literature available in the public domain that illustrate, without any equivocation, that the EEBC had announced its “final and binding” delimitation decisions in April 2002 and deposited the demarcation coordinates with the UN Cartographic Unit in 2007. Ethiopia’s rejection of these decisions and occupation to-date of sovereign Eritrean lands is thus a flagrant violation of international law and its peace treaty obligations as stipulated in the Algiers Peace Agreement. Mincing words or resorting to deceitful packaging cannot alter this reality.

In another lengthy but shallow “opinion piece” by a certain Abdulrahman Al-Rashid, Alsharq Al-Awast again goes out of its way to shower praise on the TPLF regime as a “dependable” errand boy to advance US military and political agendas in the Horn of Africa region. To highlight this point, the author claims: “Ethiopia has succeeded to contain Somalia by force, unlike Afghanistan, and it disciplined Eritrea”. The mayhem that has afflicted Somalia since Ethiopia’s military invasion in 2006 is a matter of historical record and widely acknowledged by knowledgeable observers of the region. As for Ethiopia “disciplining” Eritrea, the author is either oblivious to contemporary history or an avid apologist of failed aggressors. More importantly, sustainable peace and stability in the Horn of Africa/Middle East region will not be achieved through a security architecture that exalts hegemony and “policing” by selected “anchor states” to carry out the bidding of extraneous forces.

Security and cooperation frameworks that promote enduring interests of all the countries and peoples in this sensitive region must indeed be predicated on legality and mutual respect of each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Alsharq Al-Awsat can and should contribute to this objective through impartial and nuanced reporting and analysis of news and events in the region instead of propagating false narratives to whitewash the regime in Ethiopia that finds itself embroiled in a domestic quagmire of its own making.

Ministry of Information
Asmara, 30 December 2016

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