Ethiopia/Eritrea Conflict – Emily Coats

Ethiopia and Eritrea, two small countries located in the Horn of Africa, have been conflicted for many years. From 1974-1991, Eritrea fought for their independence from Ethiopia. In 1991, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), with the help of the UN, set up an autonomous transitional government in Eritrea. They were granted independence from Ethiopia in April of 1993. After the Eritrean War for Independece had ended, the border between the two nations became a major dispute. In November of 1997, a border committee was assembled in an attempt to resolve this issue, and unfortunately, a compromise was not agreed upon. On May 13th, 1998, Ethiopia sparked the war with Eritrea. These two countries spent millions of dollars on the war, even after efforts to solve the conflict were suggested by the Organization of African Unity. A US/Rwanda peace plan called for the withdrawal of both forces, but Eritrea declined this proposal and continued the fight. It is reported that the total war casualties from both nations was about 70,000. Not only did this war cause many deaths, it caused a major internal displacement issue in both Eritrea and Ethiopia. June 18th, 2000, ended the brutal war by the signing of the Algiers Peace Agreement. Also, the Ethiopia-Eritrea Border Commision (EEBC) was established. Sadly, there was still extreme tension following the peace agreement. Since the end of the war, the border line has remained a serious issue between the two, and both countries have been fueling various rebel movements in the opposing country. Today, the relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea is still very fragile. Now, Eritrea has been accused of human rights crimes, and there has been a recent spike in people fleeing from Eritrea to Ethiopia due to widespread abuses throughout the country. Eritrea is currently held under many sanctions imposed by the UN.

Eritrea became a province of Ethiopia, without any say in the matter, following World War II. Shortly after, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) was assembled in order to gain independence from Ethiopia. A 30 year war began, and by 1993, Eritrea became a sovereign state. Sadly, the war had detrimental social and environmental effects on this country, causing Eritrea to be one of the poorest countries in the world. In 1998, border disputes arose between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Eritrea invaded the Badme region along the two countries’ border.

Ethiopia was opposed to Eritrea’s independence for many reasons, one being the advantage of having access to the Red Sea. After Eritrea gained independence, they were overpowered by the Ethiopian army in the 1998-2000 border dispute. Ethiopia is not interested in any additional wars with Eritrea, especially due to the awareness of U.S. intervention if Ethiopia invaded Eritrea.

As of now, the conflict involving Ethiopia and Eritrea is mostly in regards to Eritrea’s chaotic situation. Eritrea has been accused of human rights violations, and widespread abuse throughout the country. The UN has enforced many sanctions for alleged terrorism support and human rights crimes. Over 6% of Eritrea’s population has fled the country, and Eritrea constantly refuses to cooperate with the UN. I think to support peace in the Horn of Africa, sanctions should continue to be imposed on Eritrea, and the placement of UN Peacekeepers within the country should be enforced. The Eritrean government is abusing its citizens, and the UN needs to intervene as much as possible in order to promote peace and well-being within the country.







6 thoughts on “Ethiopia/Eritrea Conflict – Emily Coats

  1. Emily I really enjoyed reading your post. I think it is very well written and you put a lot of thoughtful information. I really agree on your solution for peace in the country. If it was me I would place more economic sanctions and trade barriers with Eritrea. I think the UN should send in Peacekeepers with the authority to protect the general public since the government has grown too corrupt and ignorant to solve the problem.


    • Thank you for your insight, Ricardo. I’m glad to hear that you agree with my proposals for peace, I would keep the sanctions on Eritrea in place as well. Sending UN Peacekeepers into Eritrea, in my opinion, would be very beneficial to the future success of this country, as well as its mistreated citizens.


  2. I think your conflict was extremely well organized and presented your points efficiently and effectively. I also deeply agree on your solutions for peace, the trade barriers should definitely stay in place and if anything should be strengthened. Also peacekeepers in Eritrea should not only help them restore their human rights, but should also start helping rebuilding their government so it will no longer be corrupt. (PS I think the -8000 year old war was interesting)


    • Emily, I really like the way you organized this article. You incorporated specific details and information regarding this border conflict. Also, I enjoyed the details given on the current chaotic state of Eritrea. In your opinion do you think the U.S. should heavily intervene in this conflict or leave it be?


      • Thank you Katie! in my opinion, the UN is the most important factor in solving this conflict, rather than purely the United States. As a member of the UN, I believe we should communicate with other countries and form a possibly method of solving this conflict as a unitary international organization.


    • I strongly agree with your thought, trade barriers should most definitely be strengthened in order to solve this chaos in Eritrea. The government is in need of improvement and reconstruction, so I also agree with your suggestion to repair the government in attempt to eradicate the corruption. (In response to @ambergswerve)


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