Yemen Retains Sovereignty Over Hunaish: WE WON! [Archives:1998/41/Front Page]
We won big!
Friday October 9th was a historic day for Yemen.
Yemen had endured pain and humiliation due to the Eritrean attack and occupation of Greater Hunaish Island. Yet President Ali Abdullah Saleh stayed the course of negotiations and peaceful settlement of the dispute. Now he and the whole nation share the glory of the victory because the Court of Arbitration issued its verdict in favor of Yemen.
On Friday, October 9th, 1998, the Court of Arbitration sitting in London issued its 142-page verdict which is both binding and final. The Hunaish Islands and all other islands around them – 26 islands, 13 islets and numerous unnamed rocks in the southern Red Sea “are subject to the territorial sovereignty of Yemen.”
The nation glowed in its moment of glory. But especially deserving to bask in this momentous occasion was President Ali Abdullah Saleh who resisted extreme pressures to regain the islands by waging war on Eritrea. Also sharing in this glory are Dr. Abdul-Karim Al-Iryani, Prime Minister, and his team of lawyers, career diplomats, and other experts, who spent thousands of man-hours collecting documents, piecing historic facts, and then presenting Yemen’s case to the court.
They did a marvelous job.
It is just fitting that the nation recognize those men and women, and honor them for their fruitful efforts.
Meanwhile, Yemen was quick – again very wisely – to extend the hand of friendship to Eritrea, and to seek to work together to let by-gones be by-gones. “We hope to be able to work together and be good neighbors. We need each other for regional stability and for our own prosperity and development,” said Foreign Minister Abdul-Qader Ba-Jammal.
The tribunal verdict, which was unanimous, dictates that “the Awards shall include the time period of ninety days for their execution”. This means the whole Archipelago will revert to Yemen within a maximum of 90 days of the verdict.
Eritrea issued a formal communique accepting the decision. It has started steps to pull out its troops from the islands which Yemeni forces plan to immediately occupy.
With the end of “Phase I: Territorial Sovereignty and Scope of Dispute”, the tribunal now moves to the next (and final) phase – delimiting the maritime boundary between the two neighbors across the Red Sea. This process will take several months.
Text of the last two pages of the 142-page Verdict on the Yemeni-Eritrean Territorial Dispute:
Chapter XI – Dispositif
Accordingly, THE TRIBUNAL,
taking into account the foregoing
considerations and reasons,
IN THE PRESENT CASE THAT:
i. the islands, islets, rocks, and low-tide elevations forming the Mohabbakah islands, including, but not limited to, Sayal Islet, Harbi Islet, Flat Islet and High Islet are subject to the territorial sovereignty of Eritrea;
ii. the islands, islets, rocks and low-tide elevations forming the Haycock Islands, including, but not limited to, North East Haycock, Middle Haycock, and South West Haycock, are subject to the territorial sovereignty of Eritrea;
iii. the South West Rocks are subject to the territorial sovereignty of Eritrea;
iv. the islands, islets, rocks, and low-tide elevations of the Zuqar-Hanish group, including, but not limited to, Three Foot Rock, Parkin Rock, Rocky Islets, Pin Rock, Suyul Hanish, Mid Islet, Double Peak Island, Round Island, North Round Island, Quoin Island (13¡43’N, 42¡48’E), Chor Rock, Greater Hanish, Peaky Islet, Mushajirah, Addar Ail islets, Haycock Island (13¡47’N, 42¡47’E) – not to be confused with the Haycock Islands to the southwest of Greater Hanish, Low Island (13¡52’N, 42¡49’E) including the unnamed islets and rocks close north, east and south, Lesser Hanish including the unnamed islet close south, Tongue Island and the unnamed islet close south, Near Island and the unnamed islet south east, Shark Island, Jabal Zuquar Island, High Island, and the Abu Ali Islands (including Quoin Island (14¡05’N, 42¡49’E) and Pile Island) are subject to the territorial sovereignty of Yemen.
v. the island of Jabal Al-Tayr, and the islands, islets, rocks and tow-tide elevations forming the Zubayr group, including, but not limited to Quoin Island (15¡12’N, 42¡03’E), Haycock Island (15¡10’N, 42¡07’E – not to be confused with the Haycock Islands to the southwest of Greater Hanish), Rugged Island, Table Peak Island, Saddle Island and the unnamed islet close north west, Low Island (15¡06’N, 42¡06’E) and the unnamed rock close east, Middle Reef, Saba Island, Connected Island, East Rocks, Show Rock, Jabal Zubayr Island, and Center Peak Island are subject to the territorial sovereignty of Yemen; and
vi. the sovereignty found to lie with Yemen entails the perpetuation of the traditional fishing regime in the region, including free access and enjoyment for the fishermen of both Eritrea and Yemen.
Further, whereas Article 12.1(b) of the Arbitration Agreement provides that the Awards shall include the time period for their execution, the Tribunal directs this Award should be executed within ninety days from the date hereunder.
Done at London this 9th day of October, 1998
The President of the Tribunal
/s/ Professor Sir Robert Y. Jennings