Eritrean Border Conflicts (1998 - 2018)

Eritrean Border Conflicts (1998 - 2019)

Eritrea - Ethiopia (1998 - 2018)

In 1991, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) defeated the communist military junta (‘Derg’) in Ethiopia and proclaimed independence for Eritrea. At the same time, Derg itself was overthrown by the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Forces (EPRDF), which established a transitional government in Ethiopia. Eritrea was granted an independence referendum, which resulted in a 99.8 per cent pro-independence vote. However, border tensions and heavy disputes, in particular on minority rights and economic issues, between EPLF and EPRDF led to new fighting between the two countries in 1998. A mediation by the US administration led to a difficult truce and in 2000 a peace agreement was signed. The agreement established two commission, Border Commission and the Claims Commission. The delimitation ruling of the Border Commission was rejected by Ethiopia. The border continued to be heavily occupied by troops on both sides and border skirmishes continue into 2016. In June 2018, after a series of summits, the state of war was declared over in a Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship, as Ethiopia finally agreed to honour the ruling of the Border Commission. This followed by a series of steps to improve political, economic and diplomatic ties. Transport and telephone links have been re-established, and borders reopened. In July 2018, the countries have signed the ‘Agreement on Peace, Friendship and Comprehensive Cooperation’ reiterating their commitment to achieving long-lasting peace in the region.

Sudanese-Eritrean Relations (1994 - 1999)

Eritrea broke diplomatic contact with neighbouring Sudan after accusing the country of attempting to destabilize the Eritrean regime. At the time it was believed that Sudan trained and armed the Eritrean Islamic Jihad Group, which aimed to establish a caliphate in the Horn of Africa. After breaking diplomatic relations, Khartoum accused Eritrea of providing support for armed Sudanese opposition groups. Indeed, Eritrea help a conference for the Sudanese opposition in 1995 in an attempt to unite them. Relations were normalized in 1999. Sudan sent troops to its eastern border (region of Kassala) with Eritrea amid security concerns involving Egyptian troops deployed in Eritrea.

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