Category: "Eritrea"

Ethiopia and Eritrea: An elusive peace on the cards?

October 29th, 2012

Ethiopia and Eritrea: An elusive peace on the cards?

By Isaac Esipisu

Source: Reuters

Ethiopia and Eritrea are still at each others’ throats. The two neighbours fought hammer and tongs in sun-baked trenches during a two-year war over a decade ago, before a peace deal ended their World War I-style conflict in 2000. Furious veRed Sea, UNrbal battles, however, have continued to this day.

Yet, amid the blistering rhetoric and scares over a return to war, analysts say the feuding rivals are reluctant to lock horns once again. Neighbouring South Sudan and some Ethiopian politicians are working on plans to bring both sides to the negotiating table.

Asmara has been named, shamed and then slapped with two sets of U.N. sanctions over charges that it was aiding and abetting al Qaeda-linked rebels in lawless Somalia in its proxy war with Ethiopia. However, a panel tasked with monitoring violations of an arms embargo on Somalia said it had no proof of Eritrean support to the Islamist militants in the last year.

Nevertheless, Eritrea’s foreign ministry wasted little time in pointing a finger of accusation at its perennial rival. “The events over the past year have clearly shown that it is in fact Ethiopia that is actively engaged in destabilising Eritrea in addition to its continued occupation of sovereign Eritrean territory in violation of the U.N. Charter,” the ministry said in a statement last month.


Read more from Reuters

South Sudan plans mediation between Ethiopia and Eritrea

October 24th, 2012
Left Ethiopian Prime Miister Hailemariam Desalegn, South Sudan President Salva Kiir middle and Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki

South Sudan plans mediation between Ethiopia and Eritrea

By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters)
– Newly independent South Sudan plans to help resolve the long-running border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea, a senior official said on Wednesday.

South Sudan’s minister for cabinet affairs, Deng Alor, said Addis Ababa and Asmara had given the green light for mediation talks on the border, which could start as early as November.

“We have close ties with both countries so we are planning to mediate and solve the problems that they have between them,” Deng Alor, South Sudan’s minister for cabinet affairs, told Reuters.

Ethiopian and Eritrean officials were not available to comment. Ethiopia has said its conflict with Asmara over the demarcation of their shared border following a 1998-2000 war would be solved only through a negotiated settlement.

South Sudan is still embroiled in its own frontier argument with its northern neighbour, Sudan. The two countries broke apart last year under a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war.

Alor said South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and other senior officials were set to name a delegation “very soon” that would travel to both capitals.

“We will embark on rounds of shuttle diplomacy between the two countries. We are hoping to start in November,” Alor said.

A Hague-based boundary commission awarded the flashpoint frontier village of Badme to Eritrea in 2002. But Ethiopia has yet to conform with the ruling, insisting on further negotiations on its implementation.

Asmara wants Ethiopia to pull its troops out before normalising relations.

The two countries nearly returned to war in March when Addis Ababa launched cross-border attacks in Eritrea on what it said were rebel targets.

Both countries routinely accuse each other of backing dissidents to destabilise and topple the other’s government. Ethiopian strongman Meles Zenawi died in August.

Ethiopia frees 68 Eritrean PoW, 7 seek asylum in Ethiopia

October 10th, 2012
File Photo: Eritrean Prisoners of War captured during the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea

Ethiopia frees 68 Eritrean PoW, 7 seek asylum in Ethiopia

Source: AFP

Addis Ababa
- Ethiopia has released 75 Eritrean prisoners of war captured in March during a cross border attack on a military base, officials said on Tuesday.

"The government of Ethiopia believes it is proper to release these captive soldiers of Eritrea and let them go where they want," government spokesperson Bereket Simon said.

Addis Ababa attacked the Eritrean base in retaliation for the killing of five tourists in Ethiopia's Afar region it blamed on its arch-rival, although an Ethiopian rebel group claimed responsibility and Asmara rejected the claim.

The soldiers were handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Sunday, Bereket said.

No interest

"Ethiopia doesn't have any interest to keep them here," he said, but added the move does not signal a change in the icy relationship between the two long-time foes.

"The Eritrean government is adamant and has refused to discuss issues of common concern and there are no actual discussions taking place," he said.

Eritrea won independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year struggle, but they returned to war in a bloody 1998-2000 border conflict which left at least 70 000 dead.

The two countries remain at odds over the flashpoint town of Badme, awarded to Eritrea by a UN-backed boundary commission but still controlled by Addis Ababa.

Asylum

Seven of the released prisoners applied for political asylum in Ethiopia, Bereket said, adding that they were free to stay if they wanted.

Tensions flared in January when two Germans, two Austrians and one Hungarian were killed in the attack on the slopes of Ethiopia's famed Erta Ale volcano in the desolate Afar border region.

Eritrea denied involvement in the incident and did not retaliate after Ethiopia attacked their military base.

The Ethiopian-based Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (Arduf) rebels, fighting a low-level insurgency against "political marginalisation" by Addis Ababa, claimed responsibility. They said they have no ties to Asmara.

Ethiopia frees 68 Eritrean PoW, 7 seek asylum in Ethiopia

October 10th, 2012
File Photo: Eritrean Prisoners of War captured during the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea

Ethiopia frees 68 Eritrean PoW, 7 seek asylum in Ethiopia

Source: AFP

Addis Ababa
- Ethiopia has released 75 Eritrean prisoners of war captured in March during a cross border attack on a military base, officials said on Tuesday.

"The government of Ethiopia believes it is proper to release these captive soldiers of Eritrea and let them go where they want," government spokesperson Bereket Simon said.

Addis Ababa attacked the Eritrean base in retaliation for the killing of five tourists in Ethiopia's Afar region it blamed on its arch-rival, although an Ethiopian rebel group claimed responsibility and Asmara rejected the claim.

The soldiers were handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Sunday, Bereket said.

No interest

"Ethiopia doesn't have any interest to keep them here," he said, but added the move does not signal a change in the icy relationship between the two long-time foes.

"The Eritrean government is adamant and has refused to discuss issues of common concern and there are no actual discussions taking place," he said.

Eritrea won independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year struggle, but they returned to war in a bloody 1998-2000 border conflict which left at least 70 000 dead.

The two countries remain at odds over the flashpoint town of Badme, awarded to Eritrea by a UN-backed boundary commission but still controlled by Addis Ababa.

Asylum

Seven of the released prisoners applied for political asylum in Ethiopia, Bereket said, adding that they were free to stay if they wanted.

Tensions flared in January when two Germans, two Austrians and one Hungarian were killed in the attack on the slopes of Ethiopia's famed Erta Ale volcano in the desolate Afar border region.

Eritrea denied involvement in the incident and did not retaliate after Ethiopia attacked their military base.

The Ethiopian-based Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (Arduf) rebels, fighting a low-level insurgency against "political marginalisation" by Addis Ababa, claimed responsibility. They said they have no ties to Asmara.

The Armed Slaves Of Eritrea

July 5th, 2012

The Armed Slaves Of Eritrea

July 3, 2012: Ethiopia has emerged as East Africa’s political powerhouse, despite being landlocked. Eritrea controls what used to be Ethiopia’s seaports, before Eritrea became a separate nation in 1991. Since then Ethiopia has relied upon Djibouti and the Somaliland Republic for port access. Last year Ethiopia and Djibouti discussed constructing a new railroad line between the two countries. Recently Ethiopia announced that it had reached a deal with two major construction companies to extend and improve its railroad network. One company is Turkish and the other is Chinese. The project is long term, but by 2020 Ethiopia plans to have an additional 5,000 kilometers of railroad track. The project is designed to improve transportation within Ethiopia but the strategically critical link is a new rail link from northern Ethiopia to Djibouti’s Port Tadjourah.

Read Full Article from Strategy Page