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.


Eritrea 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.)

Before 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.

Badme 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 regime collapsed.

Chronology of events

6 May 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.

8 May  The 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.

10/11 May  Eritrean 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.

12 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.

13 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.

17 May  US/Rwandan government delegation arrives in Addis Ababa to mediate and produce peace proposals.

18 May  Eritrean forces kill five civilians and destroy social facilities in Badme and Sheraro districts.

30 May  Eritrea attacks Alitena (east of Zalambessa). Ethiopia, hoping for a negotiated solution, has so far taken no military action. 

3 June Eritrea attacks the border town of Zalambessa (population 10,000).

4 June  Ethiopia accepts US/Rwandan Peace Proposals. Eritrea rejects them.

5 June Eritrea 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.

The OAU Council of Ministers, meeting in Ouagadougou, ‘urgently appeal to both parties to accept and implement the recommendation of the [US/Rwandan] facilitators.’

6 June  Eritrea expels over 3,000 Ethiopian civilians, detaining nearly 600.

8-10 June  The Assembly 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.

9 - 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.

12 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

§         Ex-combatants 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.

§         Functionaries 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.

§         Individual 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 humanitarian laws.

15 June  Ethiopia declares a unilateral moratorium on air strikes.

18 June  Arrival in Addis Ababa from Asmara of OAU Delegation.

19 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 solution.

19 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)

26 June  A UN Security Council Resolution endorses the OAU decision to support the peace proposals of the US/Rwandan Facilitators.

6 - 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.

9 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.

11 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.

1 - 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 May.

18-20 Aug The 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 Ethiopian Parliament.

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 Ethiopian territory.

8 Oct  Former US National Security Adviser Anthony Lake arrives in Addis Ababa for talks.

9 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.

11 Nov  Anthony Lake returns to Addis Ababa for more talks with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi before travelling to Asmara to meet with President Isaias Afeworki.

16 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”.

18 Nov  Djibouti recalls its ambassador to Eritrea after unfounded Eritrean accusations that Djibouti is supporting Ethiopia against Eritrea.

4 Dec  US envoy Anthony Lake returns to Addis Ababa for the third time.

7 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.

17 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.


18 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.

26 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.

28 Jan Ethiopia 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.

1 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.

2 Feb   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 urgent”.

2 Feb   The UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Africa, Mohamed Shanoun, arrives in Addis Ababa to support the OAU Framework Agreement.

2 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.

2 Feb   At 4pm Eritrean forces heavily shell the Zalambessa front for 45 minutes.

4 Feb   At 6am Eritrean forces begin continuous shelling on the Badme/Sheraro front.

5 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 1998.

6 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.

7 Feb   Eritrea bombs the town of Adigrat again, and reports indicate seven civilians are seriously injured.

7 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.

7 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. Fighting continues.

8 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.

9 Feb   The US 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.

10 Feb Fighting 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.

15 Feb 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.

18 Feb A 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".

22 Feb The 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.

8 March  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.

12 March  The UN World Food Programme approves a grant of $24.3million to help 272,000 Ethiopians displaced by the conflict.

17 March  Fighting, which broke out again a few days ago, continues on the Zalambessa, Bada-Bure and Tsorona fronts.

22 March  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”.

29 March  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.

31 March  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.

12 April  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

16 April  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.

20 April 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.

22 April  The total number of Ethiopians expelled from Eritrea reaches 40,521.

28 April  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.

12 May  Ethiopia marks one year since the Eritrean invasion of Ethiopian territory.

24 May  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.

3 June  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.

5 June  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 others.

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.

14 June  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.

21 June  The OAU calls for Eritrea to withdraw from all occupied Ethiopian territories in a letter to the Eritrean president.

25-27 June  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.

29 June  Two more days of fighting around the Mereb river result in an additional 1,976 Eritrean soldiers killed, wounded or captured.

1 July   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.

10-11 July  The Eritrean president refuses to attend OAU-sponsored pre-summit talks, hosted by Libya and intended to explore the peaceful settlement to the conflict

12-14 July  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.

16-23 July  A delegation from the British-Ethiopia All Party Parliamentary Group visits Ethiopia and holds meetings with the Prime Minister and various parliamentarians and officials.

23-24 July  Prime Minister Meles Zenawi meets twice with a visiting OAU delegation attempting to gain implementation of the Modalities.

26 July  In breach of the Geneva Conventions, the Eritrean authorities bar access to the Ethiopian Embassy in Asmara to all but Embassy staff.

28 July  Delegations from Ethiopia and Eritrea meet with the OAU in Algiers to discuss the technicalities of the implementation of the Modalities.

10 Aug  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.

12 Aug The Eritrean government steps up conscription, including about 30,000 secondary school students

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.

1 Sep   Eritrean forces attack Ethiopian positions at Chin Keren on the Zalambessa front. The attack is successfully repelled the following day.

4 Sep 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

23 Sep  It is now 500 days since Ethiopia was invaded by Eritrea.

25 Sep 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 organisations.

1 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 territory Ethiopian.

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 of OAU.

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 1998.

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.

3 Nov  President Gidada calls upon Afar people to reinforce their efforts to defend Ethiopia’s sovereignty.

6 Nov  The 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 Eritrea.

8 Nov  The 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.

8 Nov  Eritrean troops poised to attack Sudan, according to Khartoum newspaper reports.

10 Nov  The 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 over 60’s.

16 Nov  The 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.

20 Nov   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.

20 Nov  The 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.

1 Dec  More 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.

3 Dec  11 Eritreans accused of espionage in western and central Tigray.

5 Dec  An 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.

6 Dec  PM 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 Ethio-Eritrean crisis.

8 Dec  Eritrea is reported to have lost its voting rights in the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), having failed to pay its contributions to the organisation.

8 Dec  Foreign 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.

10 Dec  The chairman of the Irob Woreda Council in western Tigray zone said that the Eritrean government has been displacing helpless Ethiopians in Irob woreda to desert areas.

11 Dec  The 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.

11 Dec  As of yesterday over 275.5m birr has been donated for the defence forces and for those displaced by the invasion.

11 Dec  The People’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Eritrea says the Technical Arrangements put forward to settle the Ethio-Eritrean conflict compromise Ethiopia’s sovereignty.

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.

14 Dec  A 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 negotiating skills.

15 Dec  ‘Bending 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 unacceptable.

17 Dec According to a new directive Ethiopians in Asmara must obtain passes for travel within Eritrea.

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 fodder.

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.


Jan 2000    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 for war.

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 peace.

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.

15 May  PM 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 to base.

17 May  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 statement available).

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.

6-9 June  Eritrean 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.

9 June  Eritrea continues its abuse and killing of Ethiopian civilians residing in Eritrea.

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).

14 June  Ethiopian 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.

18 June  Cessation 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 available)

26 June  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)

29 June  Abducted Ethiopians return home only to learn that their villages have been destroyed.

3 July  Eritrea claims it has ‘won the war’.

7 July  Six 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 route.

28 July  The 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 Eritrea.

1 Aug  The Ethiopian 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.

3 Aug  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.

5 Aug  The Government 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."

11 Aug  The 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 responsible."

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 river.

18 Aug 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.

The 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. 

1 Sep   Kofi 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 of November.

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.

25Sep  Kofi Annan expresses concern for the humanitarian situation.

29Sep Preparations 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.

4 Oct   Kofi Annan nominates Ambassador Legwaila of Botswana to serve as UNMEE Special Representative.

5 Oct   The UN announces that it is to examine human rights violations against Ethiopians in Eritrea.

10 Oct De-mining operations begin.

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 weeks.

7 Nov  The 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.

9 Nov  The 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.

11 Nov  RADO (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 Adi Keyih.

30 Nov South Africa announces that it is sending forces to join the UNMEE.

5 Dec  Up 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.

6 Dec  After meeting with PM Meles Zenawi UN Sec. Gen. Kofi Annan declares that the Ethio-Eritrean conflict is over.

7 Dec  In 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.

12 Dec  Ethiopia 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 available)

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 commission.

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.

2 Feb   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).

6 Feb   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 statement available).

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.

7 Feb   The defence ministers of Canada and Denmark Art Eggleton and Jan Troejborg visit the UNMEE deployment area in the central zone.

8 Feb   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 positions.

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.