Ethiopia and Eritrea Border Conflict
The following is a chronology of events relating to the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea from early May 1998 onwards.
invaded Ethiopian territory in May 1998, killing civilians and driving more than
350,000 people off their land, thereby depriving them of their homes and
livelihoods. Eritrea invade Ethiopia at four points – first at Badme (western
Tigray), then at Alitena (central Tigray) then at Zalambessa (West of Alitena)
and finally at Bure (Eastern Ethiopia – in the Afar region.)
the invasion of Ethiopia by Eritrea, the Tigray/Eritrea border was a ‘free
border’. Ethiopians crossing into Eritrea and Eritreans crossing into Ethiopia
needed only an ID card. Border skirmishes had occurred but, until this time, had
been resolved peacefully by the Joint Commission appointed for the purpose. The
Commission was actually in session when Eritrea invaded.
has been under Ethiopian administration for as long as its population can
remember. Since 1993 three elections had taken place in Badme under regional and
international supervision. There is an Ethiopian MP for Badme – Mr Meresa Reda
- in the Ethiopian Parliament. No objection had been raised to Ethiopia holding
elections in Badme or any other of the invaded territories by the Eritrean
government until after 6th May. The EPLF and EPRDF had always agreed
that they would adhere to the borders that were in existence when the Derg
Armed Eritrean soldiers approach Badme. They are told by local police, according
to standard regulations, to leave their arms at the border. They refuse. In the
following shoot-out some are killed on both sides.
Ethio-Eritrean Joint Commission for solving the border dispute, in a meeting
timetabled in March 1998 for today in Addis Ababa, agree that the problem should
be resolved bilaterally by elders on both sides and, failing that, by
international intermediaries or international courts.
This process should be completed within two months. The Eritrean side
agree that their troops should withdraw to the pre 6th May positions.
troops continue to arrive in the area. Efforts are made by high-level officials
of the Ethiopian government to clarify the situation and remind the Eritrean
government of the Joint Commission’s agreement.
May Three brigades, each of 3,000 Eritrean troops, each led by a
general, together with13 tanks, invade the border at Badme and parts of Sheraro.
Tigray, at this time, is a demilitarised zone, without any troops at all. The
troops kill 20, injure 20, and displace 370 Ethiopians.
May A statement is issued by an extraordinary meeting of the
Ethiopian Council of Ministers calling for an immediate Eritrean withdrawal from
the occupied areas with no preconditions.
May US/Rwandan government delegation arrives in Addis Ababa to
mediate and produce peace proposals.
May Eritrean forces kill five civilians and destroy social
facilities in Badme and Sheraro districts.
attacks Alitena (east of Zalambessa). Ethiopia, hoping for a negotiated
solution, has so far taken no military action.
Eritrea attacks the border town of Zalambessa (population 10,000).
accepts US/Rwandan Peace Proposals. Eritrea rejects them.
bombs Mekele, capital of Tigray, deliberately targeting civilians in residential
areas and an elementary school, then returning to bomb those assisting at the
scene. Cluster bombs are used, resulting in 51 (later 52) civilians killed and
132 wounded. The airport, which is 7 km from the civilian areas targeted, was
also bombed. The Ethiopian airforce launches two air strikes on Eritrean
military installations outside Asmara, destroying military planes. There are no
casualties. Neither of these raids targets civilians.
OAU Council of Ministers, meeting in Ouagadougou, ‘urgently appeal to both
parties to accept and implement the recommendation of the [US/Rwandan]
June Eritrea expels over 3,000 Ethiopian civilians, detaining
of Heads of State and Government of the OAU, at its 34th Session in
Ouagadougou expresses its support of the United States/Rwanda facilitators plan.
- 11 June Ethiopian positions at Zalambessa, on the Badme/Sheraro
front, and on the Afar/Eritrea border are attacked. The attacking Eritrean
forces are repulsed sustaining heavy casualties. On the afternoon of 11 June Eritrea fires cluster bombs at civilian targets in Adigrat,
killing 4, wounding 30, and destroying a grain and edible oil store.
June Ethiopia announces precautionary measures with respect to
Eritreans considered likely to pose a threat to national security. The
precautionary measures concern the following three categories
and conscripts suspected of posing a threat to national security, on account of
their training, were detained at temporary camps until they choosing a country
where they wished to go. The ICRC allowed full access.
of the EPLF office and other party interests in Addis Ababa were expelled. Their
families were given the choice to stay if they wished to.
Eritreans who were caught engaged in spying activities and mobilising financial
and other resources to support the Eritrean aggression were expelled. They were
taken to the border with Eritrea, accompanied by medical professionals and
international organisations interested in the implementation of international
June Ethiopia declares a unilateral moratorium on air strikes.
June Arrival in Addis Ababa from Asmara of OAU Delegation.
June Ethiopia/OAU talks resume. The delegation issues a statement
that, although the Ethiopian government has reiterated its acceptance of the
Facilitators’ proposals, the Eritrean government has continued in its
rejection, It will, however, continue in its efforts to work towards a peaceful
June The Sudanese General Command in Khartoum declares in a public
broadcast that it has repelled Eritrean attacks on seven Sudanese border
positions on the Sudan/Eritrean border and in retaliation had shelled Eritrean
positions. (AFP report)
June A UN Security Council Resolution endorses the OAU decision to
support the peace proposals of the US/Rwandan Facilitators.
- 10 July The governments of the United Kingdom, Germany, France,
Russia and Italy, the European Commission and the joint forum of the European
Parliament and the Asian, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) support the
implementation of the OAU and UN resolutions for a peaceful settlement.
July The ICRC in the ICRC News confirms that they have visited the
Ethiopian prisoner-of-war camp at Fiche on the 20th, 26th
and 27th June, and on 2nd July. Eritrea still refuses to
allow the ICRC access to detained Ethiopian nationals in Eritrea.
July The Ethiopian Government exposes the undercover operation of
an EPLF surveillance structure throughout Ethiopia and announces a round-up of
its membership for security reasons.
- 2 Aug The OAU Ambassadors Delegation summons the Foreign Ministers of
Ethiopia and Eritrea to Burkina Faso to hear the report of its fact-finding
investigation into the border dispute. The report establishes beyond doubt
that the occupied Badme area was under Ethiopian administration before 6th
Union of African Parliaments at its 21st Conference in Niger issues a statement
calling, among other things, for the withdrawal of Eritrean forces to the
pre-May 6 border as recommended by the Facilitators, the OAU and the UN Security
Council. The Statement also calls for the international community to facilitate
an investigation into the allegations of Eritrean war crimes made by the
September The XII Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, held in Durban,
South Africa expresses deep concern at the continuing crisis between Ethiopia
and Eritrea and welcomes the decision of the 34th Session of the OAU
on the conflict, which called, among other things, for Eritrea to withdraw from
Oct Former US National Security Adviser Anthony Lake arrives in
Addis Ababa for talks.
Oct The International Court in the Hague rules in favour of Yemen
in its dispute with Eritrea over one of the Hannish Islands which Eritrea
invaded in 1995.
7-8 Nov An OAU summit in Ouagadougou once again calls on Eritrea to withdraw from the occupied areas. Eritrea refuses and the matter passed to the OAU central body for conflict resolution. Ethiopia fully accepts the plan. President Isaias Afeworki of Eritrea calls for Djibouti to be excluded from the committee and accuses it of supporting Ethiopia’s war effort.
Nov Anthony Lake returns to Addis Ababa for more talks with Prime
Minister Meles Zenawi before travelling to Asmara to meet with President Isaias
Nov The United Nations Security Council and the European Union
announce their support for the efforts of the OAU to achieve a peace proposal,
which the UN Security Council describes as “balanced and fair”.
Nov Djibouti recalls its ambassador to Eritrea after unfounded
Eritrean accusations that Djibouti is supporting Ethiopia against Eritrea.
Dec US envoy Anthony Lake returns to Addis Ababa for the third
Dec Latest figures released show that the total number of
Ethiopians internally displaced by the Eritrean invasion has reached 338,318,
and the number expelled from Eritrea has reached 39,075.
Dec The OAU central body for conflict resolution summit in Ouagadougou
endorses the peace proposals. Yet again Eritrea rejects them, and President
Isaias Afeworki accuses the OAU of being partisan. Ethiopia maintains its full
acceptance of the proposals.
Jan A statement issued on behalf of the Presidency of the EU
fully supports the efforts and commitment of the OAU to resolve the conflict.
Italy also issues a statement expressing its full backing for the OAU High Level
Delegation proposals, and urging Eritrea to accept them. As the former colonial
power, Italy intends to step up efforts to encourage peace.
Jan Canadian Foreign Minister, Mr Lloyd Axeworthy, adds
Canada’s support to the OAU Framework Agreement, and notes Ethiopia’s formal
acceptance of the terms of the Agreement.
closes schools and colleges in the northern towns of Mekele, Axum, Adwa and in
towns on the border with Eritrea, fearing a repetition of last year’s bombing
of an elementary school in Mekele.
Feb The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1226 (1999)
expressing its strong support for the OAU’s mediation efforts and the
Framework Agreement, affirming that the agreement offers the best hope for peace
between the two parties. The Council stresses that it is of primary importance
that the Agreement be accepted and fully implemented without delay.
OAU spokesman Ibrahim Dagash says that his organisation is awaiting a
reply from Eritrea to the OAU response to a series of clarifying questions asked
by Eritrea about the Framework Agreement, and adds that “the matter is very
Feb The UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Africa,
Mohamed Shanoun, arrives in Addis Ababa to support the OAU Framework Agreement.
Feb The Swedish Government joins other nations in urging
Eritrea to resolve the conflict. The Swedish Foreign Minister welcomes
Ethiopia’s acceptance of the Framework Agreement and expresses the hope that
Eritrea will do the same.
Feb At 4pm Eritrean forces heavily shell the Zalambessa front
for 45 minutes.
Feb At 6am Eritrean forces begin continuous shelling on the
Feb At 10.45am two Eritrean fighters bomb the town of Adigrat,
targeting the fuel depot and its surroundings. This is a flagrant violation of
the US-brokered moratorium on air strikes agreed by Ethiopia and Eritrea in June
Feb At dawn Eritrea launches a full-scale attack on Ethiopian
troops at the Badme front. Ethiopian forces fight back, successfully repelling
the Eritreans and capturing the important Eritrean stronghold of Geza Gerlase.
Feb Eritrea bombs the town of Adigrat again, and reports
indicate seven civilians are seriously injured.
Feb Using heavy artillery, Ethiopian forces demolish an
Eritrean radar station in an unpopulated area 5 kilometres southeast of Adi
Quala. Personnel supervising the station sustain casualties.
Feb Eritrea continuously launches counter offensives against
Ethiopian forces in an attempt to recapture the important stronghold of Geza
Gerlase, which Ethiopia won yesterday. The Ethiopian Army successfully repels
these attacks and continues to hold the post it gained yesterday. In addition to
holding Geza Gerlase the Ethiopian Army forces the Eritrean troops to retreat.
Feb Eritrean forces sustain heavy losses at the hands of the
Ethiopian military during counter-offences on both the Badme-Shiraro and Tsorona
fronts. In the course of the fighting, Ethiopian defence forces capture the two
major Eritrean strongholds of Konin and Konito and their surroundings. Eritrean
attempts to recapture these key military positions only result in further loss
and defeat for their side. The Ethiopian Air Force plays an instrumental role in
the counter-offensive activities.
President issues a statement expressing his deep concern about the fighting,
calling for an urgent settlement to the conflict, welcoming Ethiopia's standing
acceptance of the OAU's Framework Agreement and maintaining his support for the
efforts of the OAU and others to promote a peaceful resolution of this conflict.
continues on the Badme-Shiraro and Tsorono fronts.
11 Feb The
UN Security Council passes Resolution 1227 (1999), which stresses that the OAU
Framework Agreement remains a viable and sound basis for a peaceful resolution
of the conflict.
The UK Government announces, with immediate effect, an arms embargo on both
Ethiopia and Eritrea, following on from UN Security Council Resolution 1227
(1999). The move is condemned by the Ethiopian Government for treating Ethiopia,
the victim in this conflict, in the same way as Eritrea, the aggressor, - thus
denying Ethiopia the right to act in self-defence as any nation is allowed to do
under the UN Charter.
team of three EU ambassadors, led by Germany's Deputy Foreign Minister Ludger
Volmer, arrives in Addis Ababa. The three-man team is expected to hold talks
with senior government officials before travelling to Eritrea. They will also
meet officials of the OAU to discuss the Framework Agreement. An Austrian
diplomat in Addis Ababa said the team will be "stressing the EU's total
support for the OAU Framework Agreement".
Ethiopian air force and heavy artillery units attack Eritrean positions on all
three fronts, causing heavy losses in terms of both military personnel and
material. The runaway at Assab airport is damaged by Ethiopian air force
bombings. Heavy artillery units shell Eritrean positions on the Bure front.
On the Tsorona front, the Ethiopian air force carries out
attacks on Eritrean forces. Both the Ethiopian air force and heavy artillery
units attack Eritrean positions on the Tsorona and Badme fronts. During these
two days of combat, Ethiopia confirms that the Eritrean forces have suffered
heavy losses on all three fronts.
26 Feb The
military counter-offensive on the Badme front, code-named Operation Sunset,
results in a total victory for the Ethiopian Defence Forces. The operation,
which took place from 23rd February until today, sees the heavily
fortified 100km Eritrean line completely overrun and Ethiopian sovereignty
restored to the occupied Badme area. Tens of thousands of Eritrean army
personnel are captured, wounded or killed, many tanks and heavy artillery
destroyed and several captured along with thousands of medium and low-level
armaments, and two Eritrean MIG-29 fighter planes shot down.
Following on from the defeat of the Eritrean forces, Eritrea announces
its acceptance of the OAU Framework Agreement last week, but shows no sign of
implementing it, or of informing the Eritrean people of the decision. It is 300
days since Eritrea invaded Ethiopia.
The UN World Food Programme approves a grant of $24.3million to help
272,000 Ethiopians displaced by the conflict.
Fighting, which broke out again a few days ago, continues on the
Zalambessa, Bada-Bure and Tsorona fronts.
The International Committee of the Red Cross issues a statement deploring
Eritrean allegations that an Eritrean prisoner held at the Bilaten camp had been
subjected to physical and mental torture which contributed to his death. The
statement went on to say that the ICRC “regularly visits internees in the
Bilaten camp and is therefore in a position to state that the allegations as to
the death causes are unfounded”.
The Eritrean forces launch repeated unsuccessful offensives at the front
near the Mereb river, resulting in over 3,400 Eritrean soldiers killed, wounded
or captured. Ethiopian forces also captured one tank and destroyed eight more
and one Zu-23 anti-aircraft weapon.
News breaks that 2,815 Ethiopians have been expelled through Humera
without notification, and 4,000 more separated from their group and taken away
to unknown locations.
Eritrea embarks on forced conscription of men under 45 for deployment to
the war. Parents and relatives hiding their children are subjected to severe
punishments. Eritrea also issues a directive expelling from work all those of
Ethiopian origin, depriving them of their livelihood
The Ethiopian air force successfully attacks the Sawa Military Training
Camp, and on carefully selected strategic military targets around the towns of
Mendeferra and Adi-Keyih, north of the Zalambessa-Egela front.
At an African conference on the use of child soldiers, Ethiopia condemns the
Eritrean policy of deploying hundreds of children as war combatants in violation
of international norms and conventions.
The total number of Ethiopians expelled from Eritrea reaches 40,521.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi meets with the UN Special Envoy for
Africa, Mr Mohammed Sahnoun and emphasises the need for Eritrea to withdraw from
occupied Ethiopian territory as the first step on the path to peace.
Ethiopia marks one year since the Eritrean invasion of Ethiopian
The Ethiopian De-mining Project announces that 30,375 anti-personnel
mines and 539 anti-vehicle mines have been de-mined, out of over 100,000 mines
planted by Eritrea in Badme and its environs.
A two day attack by four Eritrean brigades at the western
front near the Mereb river is successfully repelled, resulting in the deaths of
over 400 Eritrean troops and the wounding of 1,500 others.
Eritrea issues a new decree imposing strict conditions on Ethiopians
living in Eritrea. The decree requires all Ethiopians over the age of 15 to
obtain a one-year residence permit and pay 200 Nakfa for the registration of
each family member. The decree also invalidates all existing identity cards,
including those issued by the Ethiopian Embassy.
The community in Mekele holds a memorial service for the 52 civilians
killed in the bombing of the school one year ago. The bombing also injured 132
9-13 June During intense fighting the Ethiopian defence forces kill, wound or capture 12,733 Eritrean soldiers, bringing the total number of Eritrean casualties sustained during the four days to over 21,000. During the course of these military engagements, the Ethiopian air force penetrates behind enemy lines, causing the Eritrean army heavy human and material losses. The air force attacks the Eritrean army near Areza as it is moving from the Igala-Zalambessa front to the Mereb River to provide reinforcements; targets a military logistics centre at Dass (along the Barentu line) that contains weapons and munitions; and attacks heavy artillery units positioned near the Mereb River. The fighting continues as the Ethiopian defence forces engage in counter-offensive measures to repel Eritrean attacks near the Mereb River.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs writes to the President of the UN
Security Council calling on the Council to endorse the OAU call for immediate
withdrawal from all occupied Ethiopian territories.
The OAU calls for Eritrea to withdraw from all occupied Ethiopian
territories in a letter to the Eritrean president.
In the latest round of fighting initiated by Eritrean forces around the
Mereb river, 5,950 Eritrean soldiers are killed, wounded or captured. The
Ethiopian airforce successfully attacks the strategic military target of Assab
airport twice, causing severe runway damage.
Two more days of fighting around the Mereb river result in an additional
1,976 Eritrean soldiers killed, wounded or captured.
In blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions, the Eritrean
authorities confiscate the diplomatic pouch sent from Addis Ababa to the
Ethiopian Embassy in Asmara. Passports and IDs were stolen, putting Ethiopian
citizens at risk in Eritrea by denying them proper forms of identification.
The Eritrean president refuses to attend OAU-sponsored pre-summit talks,
hosted by Libya and intended to explore the peaceful settlement to the conflict
The 35th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the OAU
convenes in Algiers and unanimously endorses the Modalities for the
Implementation of the OAU Framework Agreement. Central to the Modalities is the
call for the return to the status quo ante that prevailed until May 6th
1998. Eritrea, however, whilst stating acceptance of the Modalities, also
insists, after the summit has endorsed them, on new conditions such as
compensation, and specifies a different cut-off date for the return to the status
quo ante – July 1997 – again undermining efforts for a peaceful
resolution to the conflict.
A delegation from the British-Ethiopia All Party Parliamentary Group
visits Ethiopia and holds meetings with the Prime Minister and various
parliamentarians and officials.
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi meets twice with a visiting OAU delegation
attempting to gain implementation of the Modalities.
In breach of the Geneva Conventions, the Eritrean authorities bar access
to the Ethiopian Embassy in Asmara to all but Embassy staff.
Delegations from Ethiopia and Eritrea meet with the OAU in Algiers to
discuss the technicalities of the implementation of the Modalities.
The ICRC praises Ethiopia for giving their delegation full access to
Eritrean prisoners of war, and rebukes Eritrea for blocking access to Ethiopian
prisoners of war and other detainees held in Eritrea.
The Eritrean government steps up conscription, including about 30,000 secondary
21 Aug Eritrean
trained and armed extremist groups derail a civilian train on the Addis
Ababa-Djibouti rail link by planting a landmine. Additional explosives at the
site were de-mined by the Ethiopian defence forces.
21 Aug Yemen
accuses Eritrea of piracy by seizing Yemeni fishing vessels in international
waters and detaining 24 people
23 Aug National
elections in Ethiopia are announced for May 14th, 2000.
Eritrean forces attack Ethiopian positions at Chin Keren on the
Zalambessa front. The attack is successfully repelled the following day.
Ethiopia announces that it is continuing discussions with the OAU to
eliminate the inconsistencies contained in the Technical Arrangements for the
implementation of the Framework Agreement
It is now 500 days since Ethiopia was invaded by Eritrea.
Ethiopia brings the first formal legal charge against the Eritrean government
concerning goods seized by the Eritrean authorities at the posts of Asab and
Massawa since its invasion of Ethiopia in May 1998. Formal proceedings are
opened in the newly-established court of the Common Market for Eastern &
Southern Africa (COMESA). The seized goods are valued at over $133m, in addition
to financial losses and expenses incurred by the exporting and importing
Oct The Eritrean Ministry of Foreign Affairs declares for the
first time that the town of Zalambessa is ‘sovereign Eritrean territory’,
despite admitting several months ago that it was only occupying the town for
strategic military reasons, having no legitimate claim to the territory. The
constituency is represented in Ethiopia's Parliament by MP Alebel Gebru
Tewoldemedhin, who was elected in 1995, and Zalambessa has never in history
belonged to Eritrea. The Eritrean government never claimed Zalambessa as its own
during Ethiopia's 1995 national elections or during Eritrea's 1993 referendum on
independence, clearly indicating that the Eritrean government considered the
18 Oct The
Eritrean government refuses to accept 1,500 out of 4,000 of its citizens who
requested to return there from Ethiopia, despite all the arrangements having
been made by the Ethiopian government. In addition, Eritrea continues to refuse
to allow Ethiopian nationals who wish to leave Eritrea to do so, forcing many of
them to live destitute on the streets of Asmara, without food or shelter.
26 and 28 Oct PM Meles Zenawi met with President Bouteflika, current chair
27 Oct Relief was distributed to 4,000
war-displaced Eritreans in Adigrat following their displacement from Zalambessaa
and other parts of Gulo Mekeda
28 Oct Ethiopia says there will be no peace
until Eritrea withdraws from Ethiopian territory it has occupied since June
29 Oct The Ethiopian foreign ministry
reiterated that Ethiopia’s minimum condition for peace is the full reversal of
the Eritrean aggression. The clarifications sought by Ethiopia on the Technical
Arrangements for the Implementation of the OAU-initiated Framework Agreement are
not only appropriate but are also reliable safeguards for achieving peace.
29 Oct 1,500
Ethiopians have been subjected to torture in Eritrean prisons according to an
escapee from one of the prisons.
29 Oct Asmara is press ganging children and
the elderly into what is now the 11th round of military training said
the Eritrean Kunama Democratic Liberation Movement.
2 Nov Numbers
of Eritrean youths fleeing to the Sudan to avoid military conscription rises.
Gidada calls upon Afar people to reinforce their efforts to defend Ethiopia’s
president of the ACP-EU Joint Assembly said that the assembly’s recent
Resolution regarding the Ethio-Eritrean conflict is premature and failed to take
into consideration the existing realities.
8 Nov Ethiopians
resident in Eritrea are being forced to join Eritrean opposition groups in
Eritrean president claimed that he was ‘read in principle to re-deploy his
troops to their pre-war positions’ while the presidential spokesman said there
were ‘no plans’ to do so.
troops poised to attack Sudan, according to Khartoum newspaper reports.
Tigray Development Association (TDA) urges the international community to put
pressure on Eritrea to release TDA and other Ethiopians who are being tortured
in Eritrean prisons.
11 Nov The Eritrean regime killed 17
Ethiopian Afars on 29th October and 1st November at Bokila in the
Afar state. The dead included religious leaders, tribal chiefs, young people and
Eritrea regime has begun to conscript Afari women into its army, says the
vice-chair of the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation. Those who resist are
beaten, tortured and even killed.
17 Nov The
Alliance of Eritrean National forces expressed concern at the increasing
incidence of human rights violations by Eritrea against Eritrean nationals
conscripted into the army.
18 Nov The
Eritrean regime has transferred 1,700 Ethiopian prisoners from Awushait prison
to a secret location to give the impression that there are no prisoners.
19 Nov Sacred
articles have been looted form 71 churches by the invading Eritrean forces.
Large numbers of Ethiopians and disaffected Eritrean army members
continue to flee to the Sudan, according to an escapee who arrived in
Endesellasie town yesterday.
Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation reports that the Eritrean regime has
abducted 17 Red Sea Afars and taken them to an unknown location.
22 Nov A
large number of Eritrean army members continue to defect, some going into exile
and others hiding in the Eritrean wilderness.
25 Nov Widespread
abuse of Ethiopians in Eritrea reported.
25 Nov Eritrean
opposition leader Ato Le’ul supports Ethiopia’s call for clarification to
the technical arrangements.
26 Nov Isaias
army continues to abduct Ethiopians and steal cattle in the border areas.
26 Nov Ethiopian
Afaris continue to be press ganged in to the Eritrean army.
27 Nov Ethiopians
subjected to torture in Teseney prison, says an escapee.
30 Nov A
BBC report states says that Eritreans are staying home as police raid urban
centres for draft dodgers/deserters.
1 Dec Ethiopia reaffirms its request for
clarification of the Technical Arrangements.
Eritreans flee to Sudan to avoid another round of conscriptions.
2 Dec Ethiopians
resident in Eritrea continue to be imprisoned at Indaseal.
2 Dec Invading
Eritrean forces destroy 290 hectares of forest.
3 Dec Ethiopia
reserves its right to defend its sovereignty despite international pressure
being put o the country, says the Vice minister of Foreign Affairs.
Eritreans accused of espionage in western and central Tigray.
Ethiopian escapee from Eritrea has disclosed that the Eritrea regime is
currently making false claims saying that the OAU has established that Irob is
part of Eritrea and that Irobians are Eritrean.
Meles Zenawi said today that the unjustified pressure imposed by the
international community on Ethiopia in the belief that peace could be realised
through arm-twisting the victim of aggression, cannot help resolve the
is reported to have lost its voting rights in the United Nations Industrial
Development Organisation (UNIDO), having failed to pay its contributions to the
Minister Seyoum Mesfin states that the patience Ethiopia has shown to exhaust
all peaceful means to bring about a peaceful solution to the conflict with
Eritrea was intended to prevent destruction.
10 Dec Ethiopia’s
permanent representative to the UN told a UN forum in New York that despite the
efforts of the OAU, Eritrean refusal to accept and implement the OAU peace
proposal, coupled with the unbalanced position taken by the Security Council
resulted in major fighting between Ethiopia and Eritrea in February 1999 and in
the continuation of the crisis.
chairman of the Irob Woreda Council in western Tigray zone said that the
Eritrean government has been displacing helpless Ethiopians in Irob woreda to
Eritrean regime has been abducting citizens – day and night - in Asmara and
other places for forced military conscription. The regime’s police force has
been hunting down youths and adults alike in the streets and in homes.
of yesterday over 275.5m birr has been donated for the defence forces and for
those displaced by the invasion.
People’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Eritrea says the Technical
Arrangements put forward to settle the Ethio-Eritrean conflict compromise
13 Dec Vice
Foreign Minister Dr Tekeda stated that Ethiopia has always maintained that
progress towards peace is contingent upon the reversal of the Eritrean
aggression and upon the re-establishment of the status quo ante.
14 Dec A
senior Ethiopian diplomat has denied as patently false allegations by the
Eritrean representative at the United Nations that Ethiopia objects to the
demarcation of the border between the two countries.
scholar at Addis Ababa university has stated that the Technical Arrangements
contravene the tenet of the Framework Agreement and the Modalities for its
Implementation and also sideline the crucial role of the OAU in the search for
peace. The scholar claims that the Technical Arrangements betray a lack of
any further would break our back’, PM Meles Zenawi has stated. He said the
Technical Arrangements and the clarifications, as they stood, did not go far
enough to achieve peaceful reversal of the Eritrean invasion and are
insufficient to bring about a workable peace agreement. They are therefore
17 Dec According
to a new directive Ethiopians in Asmara must obtain passes for travel within
17 Dec Of
the 350,000 Ethiopians displaced by the invasion 28,000 are from the Afar state
in north eastern Ethiopia. The Eritrean regime has destroyed 174 farmer’
houses in four villages in Ahferom, central Tigray and has cleared large swathes
of forest for trench building.
20 Dec The
Alliance of Eritrean National Forces called upon the people and government of
Germany, human rights organisations and political circles as well as
peace-loving peoples to raise their voices against the oppression and repression
imposed on the Eritrean people by the Isaias regime.
22 Dec Two
Eritrean defectors have disclosed that the Eritrean regime is preparing to
deploy a large number of children and the elderly to the war front.
23 Dec Two
escapees have claimed that the Eritrean regime is keeping large numbers of
Ethiopian it has forced into its army with a view to using them as cannon
23 Dec Eritrean-planted mines have killed and wounded over 135 people and more than a thousand domestic animals in the Badme and Sheraro areas.
The number of deserters continues to mount (POW testimonies available)
23 Feb Eritrea
initiates skirmishes at the Bure front at dawn. US special envoy Anthony Lake
and OAU special envoy Ahmed Ouyahia are in the region to mediate for peace.
4 Mar Ethiopia
vindicated after eight months – statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
of the FDRE – (full text available). When Ethiopia was given the Technical
Arrangements it pointed out the inconsistencies between the implementation plan
(the Technical Arrangements) and the Peace Plan endorsed by the OAU summit is
Algiers. It also highlighted the lack of clarity in certain provisions. The
points raised have now been accepted as justified.
6 Mar Eritrea’s
foreign minister Haile Woldensae says it is not holding any Ethiopian
territory’ and called upon the Eritrean people to redouble their preparation
17 Mar Eritrean president’s Special
Adviser incites war by stating that “the goal of the Ethiopian government is
to destroy Eritrea” on local radio. Ethiopia’s aim remains that of undoing
Eritrean aggression and regaining its sovereign territory.
20 Mar The Eritrean government declares
that the technical arrangements “are now open to discussion”, whereas the
week before it rejected them
25 Mar The OAU is forced to postpone proxy
talks that were scheduled to take place today in Algiers when the Eritrean side
balked at the prospect of having meaningful talks on the technical arrangements.
Eritrea continues to occupy Ethiopian territory.
28 Mar Eritrea continues to conscript young
and elderly. Eritrean soldiers continue to desert.
29 April-5 May Eritrea kills prospects for peace once again at the Algiers Proximity Talks. The Eritrean foreign minister arrived late causing delay.
Eritrea put forward a series of pre-conditions and
expressed pessimism about talks in the media. Eritrea clearly not committed to
9 May Consolidated
Technical Arrangements issued (full text available) – the outcome of seven
months of effort by the OAU and its partners.
12 May Exactly two years after invading
Eritrea refuses to withdraw from Ethiopian territory.
12 May Following the failed diplomatic
attempt to end the conflict last week when the Eritrean government refused to
discuss substantive matters, heavy fighting took place at two fronts –
Zalambessa-Egala and at the front in the vicinity of the Mereb River.
Meles gives a briefing. If the Ethiopian defence forces had not crushed the
Eritrean army, the Issaias regime would have continued to obstruct the peace
process, as it had done repeatedly in the past.
15 May Ethiopian forces continue to destroy
Eritrean army, which flees in disarray with heavy losses. Fighting continues.
Ethiopia continues to push into Eritrean territory.
16 May Fighting continues in Das and
Barentu area and Maidima. Ethiopian forces bombed strategic positions between
Areza and Maidema and between Barentu and Omohager. All aircraft returned safely
Ethiopia captures Das, Eritrean troops flee Barentu as it collapses.
Fighting continues at Maidema. Eritrea sustains heavy losses. In coordination
with the ground forces, the Ethiopian air force continued to play a major role
in battles today by bombing strategic military targets in the vicinity of Das
and Senafe and between Adi-Keieh and Segeneity. All aircraft returned safely.
17 May UN Security Council imposes an arms
embargo on Ethiopia and Eritrea. Ethiopia objects in the strongest terms. (Full
18 May Ethiopia’s sole objective is to
reverse Eritrean aggression. It has captured some key strategic sites, including
the town of Barentu inside Eritrea which was the Eritrean military’s command
post and logistics supply centre for the western front. The Ethiopian air force
bombed selected strategic positions in the vicinity of Massawa. This does not
mean that Ethiopia has changed its political objectives and is now engaged in
annexing Eritrean territory – Ethiopia supported the referendum of 1993 in
Eritrea and continues to support Eritrean independence.
22 May Prime Minister Meles Zenawi briefs diplomats on the situation. (Copies available). “Experience shows that as far as Eritrea is concerned, the stick is at least as important in convincing them as any other thing. Remove the stick and the peace process vegetates. Lift the stick and the peace process begins to have some life”.
31 May Ethiopian troops withdraw to
positions that would ensure the defence of Ethiopian territories that have been
liberated from the enemy. Ethiopian forces at the northern front have been
instructed to stand down. Ethiopian forces in the east verify that the area is
free from remnants of the enemy forces and strengthen the defences of the
territories it has liberated. The crisis is moving from the military to the
diplomatic arena, and Ethiopia is attending the Algiers talks with an approach
that would enable her to safeguard her legitimate rights and interests. The EPLF
has been forced to come to Algiers following its military defeat. If Eritrean
continues to block peace moves, Ethiopian ground and air forces will continue to
take appropriate action.
troops on the western front repeatedly provoked the Ethiopian forces that had
withdrawn to their new defensive positions. In particular Eritrea attacked a
rear guard, which was all that remained of an Ethiopian contingent that was
redeploying from Barentu to Humera through Tesseney.
Eritrea continues its abuse and killing of Ethiopian civilians residing
10 June Ethiopia launches a counter
offensive on the western front.
12 June OAU issues a proposal for an Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities of the FDRE and the Government of the State of Eritrea (copies available)
13 June Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi issues a statement. Ethiopia defends its sovereignty but even now ‘Ethiopia remains ready, if invited by the OAU, to pursue peace and commence the proximity talks from where we left off in Algiers’ The PM rejects the Security Council’s decision to impose an arms embargo stating that “The people and government of Ethiopia reject this move by some in the Security Council countries – [in particular the US and Great Britain which are leading the effort] - which is blatantly in contravention of the UN Charter which is the basis for the authority of the Security Council and of international law”. (Full statement available).
ground forces capture strategic positions including Tesseney, Tekombia, Mulki,
Adihakim, Gosma, Upper and Lower Maikokah, Tole, Kuluku, Adi Bigdi and Adi
Berbere. They also capture Eritrean troops and material. Eritrean troops fled
towards Barentu. The Ethiopian air force backed up the ground forces and
attacked selected strategic positions around Barentu. Fighting continues.
of hostilities agreement signed by both sides in Algiers.
19 June This morning Ethiopian forces withdraw from Tesseney to positions from which they can defend themselves and liberated Ethiopian territory.
21 June The Ethiopian government issues a statement. “As stipulated in the cessation of hostilities agreement, Ethiopian troops are permitted to remain deep inside Eritrean territory and are not obligated to re-deploy from these areas until after the peacekeeping mission has been deployed. When the latter arrive they will be deployed on Eritrean territory, given that the OAU agreement requires the Eritrean troops to be at least 25 kilometres from the positions to which the Ethiopian defence forces will re-deploy. Although these terms are clearly unfavourable to Eritrea, the Asmara government had no choice but to accept them because the Ethiopian defence forces had, and continue to have, the military upper hand”. (Full text available)
22 June Eritrea continues systematic abuse
of human rights of Ethiopians in Eritrea. Five hundred Ethiopians arrived in
Ethiopia this week, many of whom were abused by the Eritrean authorities. Well
over 41,000 Ethiopians have been deported from Eritrea against their will. Since
12th May 2000 both state-sanctioned and state perpetrated abuse against
Ethiopians has increased greatly. (Full text available)
22 June Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin
remains in Algiers for indirect talks with the Eritrean delegation. The ongoing
discussions are focused on technical issues regarding the peacekeeping mission,
the broad mandate of which was already contained in the cessation of hostilities
agreement. (Full text available)
Eritrea accuses Ethiopia of looting and destroying
private property so as to detract from its defeat and divert Eritrean people’s
attention onto Ethiopia. Ethiopia refutes these claims. As many outsiders have
noted, the Ethiopian army is disciplined and was under strict instructions not
to cause damage to private property. The Eritrean army destroyed three of its
own bridges between Barentu and Akordat when fleeing the Ethiopian advance.
24 June Eritrea must be held accountable
for its crimes past and present. Thousands of Ethiopian citizens continue to be
victims of gross human rights violations perpetrated by the Eritrean
authorities. (Full GSO statement
Abducted Ethiopians return home while many remain missing. 3,500
Ethiopian citizens returned to Ethiopia between 22nd and 24th
June after two years imprisonment. 740 of them were under the age of fifteen,
including three babies. There were also many elderly individuals and one busload
were sick and had to be carried from the bus on stretchers. (Testimonies and
photos are available)
Abducted Ethiopians return home only to learn that their villages have
claims it has ‘won the war’.
thousand Ethiopian nationals who had been abducted by the Eritrean authorities
were released and returned to Ethiopia last month. Families of missing
Ethiopians appeal for help. There is concern about young men who were abducted
once again when in Eritrea and who have not been heard of since. (Names with
photos available) Thousands of Ethiopians are still missing.
21 July Eritrean government endangers
Ethiopian citizens by sending them back to Ethiopia through Rama where the Mereb
River is flooded, against the advice of the ICRC. Zalambessa would be a safer
Eritrean Ministry of Foreign Affairs accuse the Ethiopian army of attacking
civilians residing in Senafe. This is a false accusation. On the contrary the
Ethiopian forces have been providing humanitarian assistance to the people of
Senafe and its environs. The army is also distributing fertilisers and
agricultural implements to enable the farmers to make the best of the rainy
season and plough their plots. In addition the FDRE Minister of Foreign Affairs
invited the UN team in June 2000 to undertake further humanitarian assistance to
the people of Senafe. While the UN team in coordination with its headquarters
was in the process of dispatching a team, the Eritrean permanent representative
to the UN protested and called for an immediate halt to the mission. Meanwhile
thousands of Ethiopians remain in prisons and uninhabitable camps throughout
Embassy in Asmara said, Eritrean security abducted women and children in an
overnight swoop on Ethiopian occupied houses in Asmara. The Embassy said, the
abducted children and women whose fathers and husbands were deliberately left
behind, were taken to unknown locations in a city-wide swoop.
The Office of
the Government Spokesperson said the Government of Eritrea deported 3,000
Ethiopians forcing them to cross through the Tsorona Front, an area extensively
infested with landmines planted by the Eritrean army. The office deplored the
silence of the international community in the face of this inhuman act of
targeting innocent Ethiopian civilians in Eritrea.
of Eritrea deported 224 Ethiopians by forcing them to cross the over flowing
Mereb River. The central zone of Tigray disclosed that the Ethiopians, who lived
in the Eritrean towns of Sheketi and Maimeneh, were deported after having been
robbed of their property. The deportation, according to zonal officials, took
place without the knowledge and involvement of the International Committee of
the Red Cross (ICRC). The deportees, were mostly elderly, women, youngsters and
pregnant women, they said. Ethiopians who returned from that country via Tsorona
disclosed that the government of Isaias Afeworki has thrown over 2,000
Ethiopians residing in Eritrea into a concentration camp in a wilderness locally
known as We' a. The returnees said the Ethiopians, aged between 15 and 40,
have been languishing at the concentration camp for the last two months.
9 Aug The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that recent moves to repatriate Ethiopians who had fled into Eritrea had been carried out without the necessary safety, resulting in the death of some people in the operation. The Organization Called on Eritrea to cease from this kind of operation.
"First results indicate that
there were five casualties of which one was a woman who died on arrival in
Gerahusimay in Ethiopia", the ICRC office in Ethiopia said in a statement.
The statement added that deportees were exposed to cold, rain, lack of food and
water as well as the danger of mines during the deportation process.
"We urge both governments to
agree on a common routing for future border crossing, and to invite the ICRC
again to participate, so as to continue to monitor the security of all
concerned", the ICRC statement said.
The head major, Teclai Kidanu,
disclosed that 31,000 underground and surface planted anti-personnel mines as
well as 500 anti-vehicle mines have been defused.
The report, based on a recent reconnaissance mission to
the region, recommended that with the poor infrastructure and difficult terrain,
the mission should use planes and helicopters as well as ground forces and
armoured personnel carriers.
10 Aug The Ethiopian charge de' Affairs at
the UN in New York said the number of troops in the UN peacekeeping mission to
be deployed in the buffer zone, 25 kms deep inside Eritrea is 'very acceptable'
to Ethiopia. IN an interview with the BBC, Fisseha Tessema, said "it (the
number) is favourable for the situation ... given the distance, the terrain and
the experience we have had in this conflict."
Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned that the Eritrean regime is
"playing a dangerous game" in deporting Ethiopians "through
unacceptable means and routes which are unsafe, causing causalities in the
process." In a statement,
the ministry said 6,428 Ethiopians were expelled by Eritrean authorities under
dangerous and inhuman conditions over the past few days alone.
The statement also dismissed Eritrean allegations that Ethiopia refused to
accept its citizens, and said Ethiopia anxiously awaits the return of its
citizens but through safe routes and in the presence of the ICRC. The Ministry
warned the Eritrean regime "that continuing to peruse its cruel policies of
incarceration and mass expulsion through minefields of Ethiopian citizens will
have grave consequences for which the Eritrean authorities will be held
15 Aug The Office of the Government Spokesperson disclosed that
the Eritrean government deported a further 2,000 Ethiopians. The office said the
deportees spent the night in the open because they couldn't cross the river as
they arrived at the crossing point in the late hours of the day. It also said
that, the bodies of three Ethiopian women, deported by Eritrean authorities in
early August and later abducted by Eritrean troops, were found in the Mereb
Ethiopia for the last time appeals to the international community to intervene
on behalf of innocent and defenceless Ethiopians in Eritrea. A
statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that over thirty thousand
Ethiopians have been incarcerated by the Eritrean regime since the start of the
conflict between the two countries, while thousands more were deported under
dangerous circumstances. The statement, among others called for the formation of
an international team made up of representatives of the Organization of African
Unity, the European Union and the United Nations, which will work into the
matter and visit concentration camps, prisons and the POWs.
Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) said, the Government of
Eritrea deported 541 Ethiopian Via Bure. The commission told ENA that the
Ethiopians were deported without the knowledge of the International Committee of
the Red Cross (ICRC).
20 Aug The Eritrean government deported a further 102
Ethiopians, who had to cross the Mereb River which is high at this time of the
year. The deportation was carried out without the involvement of the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The deportation was conducted
against appeals by the ICRC and the Ethiopian government for an end to the
unacceptable manner of deportations that the Eritrean government was employing.
21 Aug The Central Tigray Zonal Police
Department disclose that the government of Eritrea deported 4,843 Ethiopians who
were long-term residents of eight Eritrean towns and cities, including Asmara.
Most of the deportees are women and children, as well as 843 youths who were
detained at the Chuwet prison by Eritrea authorities.
23 Aug The Law Forum for peace, an indigenous non-governmental
organization, launched its maiden document compiling the names and personal data
of abducted and missing Ethiopians languishing in Eritrean prisons and
concentration camps. The 113 page document titled "Stop-Eritrea's War
Crimes in the 21st century" lists, along with their
pictures, the personal data and the place and date of abduction of the victims
of the Eritrean atrocities including those children separated from their
parents. The Law Forum for Peace, urged the International Community to consider
the gravity of the situation of the abducted Ethiopians who find themselves in
Eritrea, and to at least help secure the safety of the victims of Eritrean
regime's atrocities, and facilitate their repatriation to their homeland.
28 Aug Ambassador Richard Bogosian, Special
Assistant to the Greater Horn at the US State Department, visited Addis Ababa to
discuss humanitarian and human rights issues of civilians affected as a result
of the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
30 Aug UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
pledged that he would do everything possible to ensure the quick deployment of
the peace-keeping force along the Ethio-Eritrean border as envisaged by the
decision of the security council. Annan made the pledge while receiving the
credentials of Dr. Abdulmajid Hussein, who was appointed as Ethiopia's permanent
representative to the UN.
Annan announces that 19 states are ready to send troops to the UN mission.
15 Sep Ethiopian
PM declares an end to the war with Eritrea. He added that a cease-fire was still
holding even though there were as yet no UN observers. Negotiations were
expected to resume ‘at the end of the month’. In an interview with
journalists the PM also raised the subject of port use – there are 10
possibilities including the port of Assab he said.
UN approves 4,200 strong force. Over 4,000 Ethiopians
still held in two Eritrean prison camps.
19 Sep The
UN Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) liaison officer announced that a
4,200 strong UN peace-keeping mission will be in Ethiopia and Eritrea by the end
20 Sep The
UN Security Council says that the de-mining of the border area would be an
urgent task. UN training for peace-keepers begins.
Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin re-affirms
Ethiopia’s commitment to peace.
22 Sep First
batch of UN military observers move to the border area.
Annan expresses concern for the humanitarian situation.
have begun to rehabilitate those displaced by Eritrea’s invasion and re-build
development institutions in Western Tigray. More than 10 primary schools and
clinics were destroyed when the invasion took place.
Kofi Annan nominates Ambassador Legwaila of Botswana to serve as UNMEE
The UN announces that it is to examine human rights violations against
Ethiopians in Eritrea.
10 Oct De-mining
12 Oct Second
batch of Un military observers arrive in Ethiopia.
14 Oct ACP-EU
parliamentary congress endorses Ethiopia’s proposal.
18 Oct UN
agencies and NGOs visit the border area. It concludes that de-mining is crucial
to the rehabilitation of war-displaced.
20 Oct The
Netherlands and Canada decide to join the peace-keepers.
23 Oct A
new round of peace talks begin in Algiers. President Clinton’s special envoy
Anthony Lake will be present. The talks are aimed at turning the cease-fire into
a permanent peace accord.
30 Oct Peace
talks end abruptly. The Eritrean side made repeated attempts to avoid
negotiations on substantive issues and said that is was ‘opposed to
arbitration for demarcating the borders between the two countries’. Ethiopia
had wanted to discuss the date of 30,000 Ethiopians who are still in Eritrean
military camps and prisons. So far the ICRC has only been given access to 5,000
of them. Compensation for Ethiopian goods looted by Eritrea at the port of Assab
just before Eritrea invaded in May 1998 and for property looted from 70,000
Ethiopians who were displaced by the invasion was also to be discussed. Despite
the failure of the talks Ethiopia will pull out its forces from positions they
occupy in Eritrea after the deployment of UN peace-keeping forces. The OAU, the
UN, the EU the US an Algeria will embark on the diplomatic shuttle within two
UN named Brig. Gen Patrick Cammaert as leader of the UN forces. The Brig. Gen.
is head of the newly created UN Standby Forces High-Readiness Brigade (Shirbrig),
a 12-nation force that can be deployed rapidly to crisis points.
2 Nov UNMEE
phase 3 reconnaissance teams arrive.
prime minister Meles Zenawi urges the international community to pressurise the
regime in Asmara to genuinely commit itself to an accord for durable peace.
Ethiopian Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Tsadkan Gebre-Tensaye confirmed
Ethiopia’s commitment to the success of the UNMEE. The Ethiopian embassy in
Geneva issues a list of Ethiopians killed and of concentration camps and
detention centres in Eritrea. The embassy called on all states and relevant
international organisations to take urgent steps to ensure the immediate release
of all Ethiopian nationals from Eritrean camps.
(Rehabilitation and Development Organisation) announces that it has trained
9,095 women and 14,239 children of Tigray state safety measures against the
danger of mines. Over the last two months 96 civilians were killed and 168
others injured my mines laid by the Eritrean government.
15 Nov Eritrea
is currently holding 30,000 Ethiopians in 103 detention centres and prisons. PM
Meles Zenawi calls for an end to the abuse of Ethiopians in Eritrea
21 Nov 60
Canadian troops arrive. UNMEE phase three underway.
25 Nov The
Law Forum for Peace issued another list of a further 113 Ethiopians who have
been abducted tortured and in some cases raped.
29 Nov UNMEE
opens first land access route through the Senafe front lines between Adigrat and
30 Nov South
Africa announces that it is sending forces to join the UNMEE.
to today 236,000 mines laid by Eritrean forces have been cleared.
UNMEE reps arrive in Addis Ababa – Cheikh-Tidiane Gaye
and in Asmara - Ian Martin.
meeting with PM Meles Zenawi UN Sec. Gen. Kofi Annan declares that the
Ethio-Eritrean conflict is over.
an urgent session the Ethiopian parliament examines and endorses the peace
package that is soon to be signed in Algiers (text available). Ethiopia and
Eritrea agree to open two more land corridors.
and Eritrea sign the peace agreement in Algiers.
28 Dec A second UNMEE meeting takes place in Nairobi. The Eritrean delegation objects to the troop redeployment plan and to the 18th June Agreement, claiming that Badme, Zalambessa, Badda and other locations were not administered by Ethiopia prior to 6th May 1998.
11 Jan UNMEE
announces that 3,400 blue berets are in the mission area, more than
three-quarters of the total.
18 Jan The
UNMEE representative points the finger at Eritrea for blocking the peace
process. The mission was forced to cancel direct flights between the capital of
both countries after Eritrea objected to the task that the UN staff was
undertaking. UN representative Angela Walker said that ‘the Eritreans had
changed their mind’ and that she ‘had been informed by the Eritrean side
that flights would not be allowed’. Planes must now take the route via
Djibouti, which takes almost three times as long. (BBC report – full text
24 Jan Eritrean
soldiers continue to surrender to the Ethiopian army.
25 Jan Thousands
of Eritreans repatriated from Sudan forced into military training camps.
26 Jan Relief
food distributed to 3,792 Eritrean Kunamas displaced by the war who are now
residing in western Tigray. A spokesperson said that they had fled Eritrea to
avoid the latest round of conscription.
29 Jan Ethiopia
appoints two commissioners to the border commission and another two
commissioners to the compensation commission. Ethiopia has also submitted its
evidence to the UN cartographer who will serve as secretary to the border
30 Jan UNMEE
presents the two parties with its assessment of the redeployment plans for the
establishment of the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ). The UN Secretary General’s
Special Representative Ambassador Legwaila Joseph Legwaila travelled to the two
capitals to personally present the plan to the prime minister of Ethiopia and
the president of Eritrea.
The UN Sec.General appoints Mr Hiroshi Murakami of Japan - the Chief of
the UN Cartographic Unit - Secretary of the five-member boundary commission.
4 Feb UNMEE
issues a list of the personnel currently deployed by country.
5 Feb The EU’s representative for the Horn of Africa Rino Serri arrives in Addis Ababa for talks with the prime minister and foreign minister. South Africa approves the allotting of 12 of its National Defence Force personnel to UNMEE for two years (BBC report).
The Military Coordination Commission of the UNMEE holds the third round
of meetings in Nairobi to discuss a UN proposal on the redeployment of their
forces and the establishment of a temporary security zone. The last MCC meeting
in Nairobi ended inconclusively as Eritrea refused to accept the troop
redeployment plan which related to paragraph 9 of the 18th June
Cessation of Hostilities Agreement: “Ethiopia shall submit redeployment plans
for its troops, from positions taken after 6th February 1999 and
which were not under Ethiopian administration before 6th May 1998”.
At this latest meeting Eritrea now accepts the proposed troop redeployment plan
‘with reservations’. The Eritrean acceptance, which will result in the
creation of a 25 km ‘Temporary Security Zone’ deep within Eritrean
territory, “was the result of the Ethiopian government’s strenuous efforts
and the diplomatic pressure and persuasion exerted by the international
community. It was not a confirmation of the Eritrean government’s admission of
the truth of the matter or a reflection of its commitment to peace”, said the
spokesperson of the Ethiopia UNMEE Coordination bureau.
Agreement is reached to move forward the establishment of
the 25km temporary security zone (TSZ) on 12th February. According to
an agreed timetable, Ethiopia will start withdrawing on 12th
February, then on 17th February Eritrea will reposition to 25 km from
Ethiopia’s new positions. Ethiopia is to complete its operations by 26th
February and Eritrea’s forces are to pull back by 3rd March.
Ethiopia has agreed to re-deploy its troops from the areas controlled
temporarily in Eritrea such as Senafe, Tsorona, Imbassoyra and Shilalo. (Full
Most of the UN peacekeepers are now in place. Kofi Annan
appoints Brig. Gen. Christopher Kuto of Kenya as deputy force commander and
chief military observer for UNMEE.
A total of 15,563 people have benefited to date in a mine
awareness programme in Gulomeheda and Irob say the Rehabilitation and
Development Organisation (RADO). The mines were lain by invading Eritrean
forces. Clubs formed by thirty schools are also carrying out mine awareness
programmes in churches ad pubs. Prior to the training 34 civilians were killed
by mines and 69 were injured.
The defence ministers of Canada and Denmark Art Eggleton and Jan
Troejborg visit the UNMEE deployment area in the central zone.
Foreign minister Seyoum Mesfin re-confirms the priority of redirecting
Ethiopia’s focus and resources, once again, on economic development.
The Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC)
begins operation of a new project to rehabilitate the 350,000 Ethiopians
displaced by the Eritrean invasion. The displaced in the Afar state are being
supported by the Federal Government, while the others residing in Tigray State
are receiving provisions from the Federal Government, the World Food Programme,
the Relief Society of Tigray and the Tigray Women’s Association (TWA). The
National Fund-Raising Committee had, up to last month, also expended nearly 108
million birr on rehabilitating the 66,000 who were expelled from Eritrea and who
have now been transported to their places of origin.
Farm Africa has so far built 25 homes for internally
displaced peasant farmers whose original homes were destroyed by the invasion
and construction of another 88 is in progress. It has also provided resources
for the sinking of eight water wells and three irrigation schemes.
9 Feb ICRC
repatriates 550 Ethiopians from Eritrea.
12 Feb Ethiopia
begins withdrawing its troops from Eritrean territory. The withdrawal is to be
completed by 26th February.
16 Feb An
exhibition to honour the children killed and injured by Eritrea’s air-raid on
the Ayder School opens. Cultural events, including memorial songs are planned
for the occasion. The Red Cross oversees the return of 488 Ethiopians from
Eritrea. 586 were repatriated last week.
19 Feb Upgrading
and renovation work is to be completed by June this year on the Gondar
(Ethiopia) to Gedarif (Sudan) road to facilitate Ethiopia’s use of Port Sudan.
Work is in progress on direct telephone links between the two countries. A study
is also underway on a rail-link connection.
20 Feb Ethiopia
begins comprehensive redeployment today, in keeping with the agreement signed in
December in Algiers. The redeployment will facilitate the long-awaited
reinstatement of the Ethiopian administration to pre-May 6th 1998
22 Feb By
today all Ethiopian troops had withdrawn from Eritrean territory.
27 Feb In accordance with the agreement
reached on 6th February in Nairobi, the Eritrean authorities were to
have started rearranging their troops on 17th February, completing
the redeployment by 3rd March. But today Eritrea raised objections to
the definition of the buffer zone and stated that it would not now begin
deploying its forces until its objections to the delineation of the zone have
been resolved (BBC report).
6 March Eritrea has failed to rearrange its troops as agreed at the 3rd Military Coordination Commission (MCC) meeting in Nairobi. Eritrea was supposed to withdraw its troops by last Saturday (3rd March) but has failed to communicate its position to the UNMEE. According to diplomats the Eritrean inaction will cause complications in establishing the temporary security zone. It will also delay the delimitation of the border.