By T. Roble
Djibouti has sought the UN Security Council’s support in seeking settlement of the border dispute with its neighbour Eritrea through the International Court of Justice after what it termed as failure of direct negotiations and mediation by third parties.
Addressing the Council Wednesday following the lifting of sanctions against Eritrea, Djibouti’s ambassador to the UN, Mohamed Siad Doualeh said his country wanted ‘to obtain peaceful permanent resolution of all boundary and territorial differences, in accordance with international law’.
“Djibouti has called upon the Council, with the assistance of the Secretary General, to facilitate an agreement of the parties to voluntarily submit their boundary and territorial differences for full and final settlement by an impartial third party, such as an international arbitral tribunal or the international Court of Justice, in accordance with Article 33 of the Charter,” said Douleh.
Article 33 of the UN charter provides for countries in disputes to seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry and judicial settlement among other peaceful means. The articles also empowers the Security Council to ‘when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle their dispute by such means.’
While welcoming the lifting of the sanctions on Eritrea, Douleh said the resolution of pending disputes between the two countries was critical in normalizing relations and advancing the current détente among countries in the Horn of Africa.
“What Djibouti seeks are impartial, forward-looking measures that assist the parties in settling their prolonged conflict, by recommending a specific means of settlement from among those identified in Article 33, and establishing a mechanism leading to agreement on those means,” the envoy told the Council.
Besides the border issue, Douleh said his country was committed to peaceful settlement with Eritrea on sovereignty over Doumeira Island and the status of prisoners of war.
The diplomat noted 13 of its nationals are still in Eritrean custody as prisoners of war.
In its resolution to lift the ten year-old sanctions against Eritrea, the Security Council called on the two countries to cooperate in resolving the border dispute and the question on the prisoners of war.
Djibouti has been missing in the ongoing public diplomatic engagements among Presidents Mohamed Farmaajo, Eritrea’s Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed. But speaking Wednesday, President Farmaajo said there were ongoing talks to bring on board Djibouti. He added Somalia would host the next tripartite meeting of the Horn of African leaders.