Eritrea–Ethiopia relations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Eritrea–Ethiopia relations
Map indicating locations of Eritrea and Ethiopia



Relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia are historically adversarial.[1] Immediately after Eritrea's independence from Ethiopia in 1993, relations were cordial despite the former relationship. Since independence Eritrea's relationship with Ethiopia was entirely political, especially in the resuscitation and expansion of IGAD's scope. Since 1998 and the Eritrean–Ethiopian War, the relationship became increasingly hostile. Ties were reestablished on 9 July 2018 leading to new improved relations.


Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia through their war of independence (1961-1991). Eritrea's independence was formally recognised when it was admitted into the UN after a referendum in 1993.

In December 2000, Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a peace treaty ending their war and created a pair of binding judicial commissions, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission and the Eritrean-Ethiopian Claims Commission, to rule on their disputed border and related claims. On April 2002 The Commission released its decision (with a clarification in 2003).[2] Disagreements following the war have resulted in stalemate punctuated by periods of elevated tension and renewed threats of war.[3][4] Since these decisions Ethiopia has refused to permit the physical demarcation of the border while Eritrea insists the border must be demarcated as defined by the Commission. Consequently, the Boundary Commission ruled boundary as virtually demarcated and effective.

Eritrea maintains a military force on its border with Ethiopia roughly equal in size to Ethiopia's force, which has required a general mobilization of a significant portion of the population.[5] Eritrea has viewed this border dispute as an existential threat to itself in particular and the African Union in general, because it deals with the supremacy of colonial boundaries in Africa.[6] Since the border conflict Ethiopia no longer uses Eritrean ports for its trade.[7]

During the border conflict and since, Ethiopia has fostered militants against Eritrea (including ethnic separatists and religiously based organizations).[8] Eritrea has retaliated by hosting militant groups against Ethiopia as well. The United Nations Security Council argues that Eritrea and Ethiopia have expanded their dispute to a second theater, Somalia.[9]

On March 2012, Ethiopia attacked Eritrean army outposts along the border. Addis Ababa said the assault was in retaliation for the training and support given by Asmara to subversives while Eritrea said the U.S knew of the attacks, an accusation denied by US officials.[10]

At a summit on July 8, 2018 in Asmara, Eritrea's President Isaias Afewerki and Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed pledged to restore diplomatic relations and open their borders to each other.[11] The next day, they signed a joint declaration formally ending the Eritrean–Ethiopian border conflict.[12][13] Another peace agreement was signed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 16 September later that year.[14]

Resident diplomatic missions[edit]


  1. ^ "Ethiopia, Eritrea Accuse Each Other of Starting Border Fight". The New York Times. 14 June 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  2. ^ "Q&A: Horn's bitter border war". London: BBC. 7 December 2005. Retrieved 7 June 2006.
  3. ^ "Horn tensions trigger UN warning". London: BBC. 4 February 2004. Retrieved 7 June 2006.
  4. ^ "Horn border tense before deadline". London: BBC. 23 December 2005. Retrieved 7 June 2006.
  5. ^ "Army build-up near Horn frontier". London: BBC. 2 November 2005. Retrieved 7 June 2006.
  6. ^ "Eritrea warns Ethiopia on border". BBC News. 4 April 2003. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  7. ^ "Ethiopia rejects Eritrean ports". BBC News. 18 November 2002. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  8. ^ "Eritrea Accuses Ethiopia of Border Attacks". VOA News. Voice of America. 27 December 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2008.
  9. ^ Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council resolution 1853 (2008). Monitoring Group on Somalia. 10 March 2010.
  10. ^ Clottey, Peter (18 May 2018). "Eritrean President Discusses Path to Development". Voice of America. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  11. ^ "Leaders of Ethopia and Eritrea hug and make up". CBC News. CBC. 8 July 2018. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  12. ^ "Ethiopia's Abiy and Eritrea's Afewerki declare end of war". BBC. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Ethiopia, Eritrea officially end war". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Ethiopian, Eritrean leaders sign peace agreement in Jeddah". Reuters. 16 September 2018.