Foreign relations of Eritrea

Eritrea is a member in good standing of the African Union (AU), the successor of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and is an observing member of the Arab League. But it has withdrawn its representative to the AU in protest of the AU's lack of leadership in facilitating the implementation of a binding border decision demarcating the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Eritrea's relationship with the United States is complicated. Although the two nations have a close working relationship regarding the on-going war on terror, there has been a growing tension in other areas. Eritrea's relationship with Italy and the EU has become equally strained in many areas in the last three years. Eritrea also has very tense relations with all of its neighbors: Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen, and Djibouti.In 2007 Ethiopia expelled seven [Norway/Norwegian] diplomats the reason beeing "The soldiers in Eritrea are financed in full by Norway. By supporting those who destroy peace processes in our neighbouring countries, Norway undermines the Ethiopian government’s peace work," The Foreign minister of Ethiopia claimed. claimed.

Eritrea broke diplomatic relations with the Sudan in December 1994. This action was taken after a long period of increasing tension between the two countries due to a series of cross-border incidents involving the Eritrean Islamic Jihad (EIJ). Although the attacks did not pose a threat to the stability of the Government of Eritrea (the infiltrators have generally been killed or captured by government forces), the Eritreans believe the National Islamic Front (NIF) in Khartoum supported, trained, and armed the insurgents. After many months of negotiations with the Sudanese to try to end the incursions, the Government of Eritrea concluded that the NIF did not intend to change its policy and broke relations. Subsequently, the Government of Eritrea hosted a conference of Sudanese opposition leaders in June 1995 in an effort to help the opposition unite and to provide a credible alternative to the present government in Khartoum. Eritrea resumed diplomatic relations with Sudan on December 10, 2005. [cite web |title=Sudan, Eritrea resume severed diplomatic relations |url=http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/051210/2005121017.html |accessdate=2006-09-04]

The undemarcated border with Sudan poses a problem for Eritrean external relations. [cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3400575.stm
title = Eritrea-Sudan relations plummet
publisher = BBC
date = 2004-01-15
accessdate = 2006-06-07
] After a high-level delegation to the Sudan from the Eritrean Ministry of Foreign Affairs ties are being normalized. While normalization of ties continues, Eritrea has been recognized as a broker for peace between the separate factions of the Sudanese civil war. "It is known that Eritrea played a role in bringing about the peace agreement [between the Southern Sudanese and Government] ," [cite web
url = http://www.sudantribune.com/article.php3?id_article=12393
title = Turabi terms USA "world’s ignoramuses", fears Sudan’s partition
publisher = Sudan Tribune
date = 2005-11-04
accessdate = 2006-06-07
] while the Sudanese Government and Eastern Front rebels have requested Eritrea to mediate peace talks. [cite web
url = http://www.sudantribune.com/article.php3?id_article=15117
title = Sudan demands Eritrean mediation with eastern Sudan rebels
publisher = Sudan Tribune
date = 2006-04-18
accessdate = 2006-06-07
]

A dispute with Yemen over the Hanish Islands in 1996 resulted in a brief war. As part of an agreement to cease hostilities the two nations agreed to refer the issue to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the the Hague. At the conclusion of the proceedings, both nations acquiesced to the decision. Since 1996 both governments have remained wary of one another but relations are relatively normal. [cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/192667.stm
title = Flights back on between Yemen and Eritrea
publisher = BBC
date = 1998-12-13
accessdate = 2006-06-07
]

The undemarcated border with Ethiopia is the primary external issue facing Eritrea. This led to a long and bloody border war between 1998 and 2000. As a result, the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) is occupying a 25 km by 900 km area on the border to help stabilize the region. [cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4041073.stm
title = Q&A: Horn's bitter border war
publisher = BBC
date = 2005-12-07
accessdate = 2006-06-07
] Disagreements following the war have resulted in stalemate punctuated by periods of elevated tension and renewed threats of war.cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3457957.stm
title = Horn tensions trigger UN warning
publisher = BBC
date = 2004-02-04
accessdate = 2006-06-07
] [cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4400580.stm
title = Army build-up near Horn frontier
publisher = BBC
date = 2005-11-02
accessdate = 2006-06-07
] cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4555892.stm
title = Horn border tense before deadline
publisher = BBC
date = 2005-12-23
accessdate = 2006-06-07
] Central to the continuation of the stalemate is Ethiopia's failure to abide by the border delimitation ruling and reneging on its commitment to demarcation. The stalemate has led the President of Eritrea to urge the UN to take action on Ethiopia. This request is outlined in the penned by the President to the United Nations Security Council. The situation is further escalated by the continued effort of the Eritrean and Ethiopian leaders in supporting each other's opposition.

Disputes - international:dispute over alignment of boundary with Ethiopia led to armed conflict in 1998. The conflict was slowed by an OAU-sponsored peace treaty signed in December 13, 2000.In April 2002 Ethiopia and Eritrea agreed on a common border, drawn up by an independent commission in The Hague under the auspices of the United Nations.

References

ee also

*Eritrea
*Eritrean diplomatic missions
*Eritrea-United States relations
*Eritrea-Pakistan relations


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