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The Eritrean–Ethiopian border conflict was a violent standoff between Eritrea and Ethiopia as part of the violence in the Horn of Africa. This included sporadic clashes of their militaries, some of which took part in the larger Second Afar Insurgency. The border conflict had been ongoing since the Eritrean–Ethiopian War of 1998–2000, and included multiple clashes with numerous casualties, such as the 2016 Tserona clashes. Ethiopia eventually stated in 2018 that it would cede Badme to Eritrea, which effectively ended the twenty-year conflict. The two countries formally ended the conflict at the 2018 Eritrea–Ethiopia summit on 9 July 2018, by signing a joint agreement to resume peaceful diplomatic relations.
By March 1870, a shipping company from Italy had thus become claimant to territory at the northern end of Assab Bay, a deserted but spacious bay about half-way between Annesley Bay to the north and Obock to the south. However, the area, — which had been long dominated by the Ottoman Empire and Egypt— was not settled by the Italians until 1880. In 1884, the Hewett Treaty was signed, by the British Empire and Ethiopia under reign of Emperor Yohannes IV (r. 1871–1889). The British Empire promised the highlands of modern Eritrea—and free access to the Massawan coast to Ethiopia in exchange for its help evacuating garrisons from the Sudan, in the then-ongoing Mahdist's War. In 1889, the disorder that followed the death of Emperor Yohannes IV, General Oreste Baratieri occupied the highlands along the Eritrean coast and Italy proclaimed the establishment of a new colony of Eritrea (from the Latin name for the Red Sea), with capital Asmara in substitution of Massawa. On 2 May 1889, The peace and friendship treaty in Wuchale was signed between Italy and Ethiopia, which made Italian Eritrea officially recognised by Ethiopia as part of Italy.
However Article 17 of the treaty was disputed in the Italian version stated that Ethiopia was obliged to conduct all foreign affairs through Italian authorities, in effect making Ethiopia an Italian protectorate, while the Amharic version gave Ethiopia considerable autonomy, with the option of communicating with third powers through the Italians. This resulted in a war called the First Italo-Ethiopian War, the war resulted in favour of the Ethiopians. In October 1896, a new peace treaty was signed. Italy pay an indemnity of 10 million Italian liras for their upkeep. Most surprisingly, the Italians would retain most, if not all, of the territories beyond the Mareb-Belessa and May/Muni rivers they had taken; According Abyssinian monarchists' Menelik gave away a sizable portion of Tigray which had been treated as part of the Ethiopian empire since time immemorial.
Decades later on 2 August 1928, Ethiopia and Italy signed a new friendship treaty. This relationship deeped again six years later, on 22 November 1934, when Italy claimed that a force of 1,000 Ethiopian militia with three fitaurari (Ethiopian military-political commanders) arrived near Walwal and formally asked the Dubats garrison stationed there (comprising about 60 soldiers) to withdraw from the area. The Somali NCO leading the garrison refused to withdraw and alerted Captain Cimmaruta, commander of the garrison of Uarder, 20 kilometres (12 mi) away, to what had happened.
Between 5 and 7 December, for reasons which have never been clearly determined, there was a skirmish between the garrison of Somalis, who were in Italian service, and a force of armed Ethiopians. According to the Italians, the Ethiopians attacked the Somalis with rifle and machine-gun fire. According to the Ethiopians, the Italians attacked them, supported by two tanks and three aircraft. In the end, approximately 107 Ethiopians[nb 1] and 50 Italians and Somalis were killed.[nb 2] By 3 October 1935, the Italian Army led by General Emilio De Bono launched an assault against Ethiopia at 5 a.m. in the morning by crossing the Mareb River without any Italian "Declaration of war". This was the start of a new war called the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. By May 1936, the Italian Royal Army occupied the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, soon after the fall of the Ethiopian capital the officially Ethiopian Government and Emperor Haile Selassie I (r. 1930–1936 and 1941–1974) goes into exile. The occupied country was annexed into the Italian East African colony together with the other Italian east African colonies. The war ended in the year 1939, according by some historians Denis Mack Smith, Gerrit Jan Abbink, Mirjam De Bruijn and Klaas Van Walraven due the 10,000 Ethiopian troops whom still fighting against their occupiers under their commander Prince Aberra Kassa, until his death. On 10 June 1940, Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini declared war on Britain and France, but less a year later in March Britain started an invasion against the Italians in the region. In November, that year Britain occupied the whole Italian East African colony, however thousands Italian soldiers started a guerrilla warfare in their former colony. Until October 1943, when the last Italian soldiers surrenerd to Britain, Ethiopians get their independent back and Eritrea was under Britain military administration until the 1950s.
After the war there was a question who would get Eritrea between the Italians, Soviets and the Ethiopians. After the Italian communists' victory in the 1946 Italian general election and the republic's establishment they supported a returning Eritrea to Italy under trusteeship or as a colony. The Soviets had the same idea to make it their trustee, and tried, by Soviets diplomats led by Maxim Litvinov and backed by Ivan Maisky and Vyacheslav Molotov, but they failed. Ethiopian Emporor Haile Selassie I claimed Eritrea too, in 1952 the United Nations decided that Eritrea would become part of the Ethiopian Empire. This made Eritrea a special autonomy and Ethiopia became a federale country. In 1958, a group of Eritreans founded the Eritrean Liberation Movement (ELM). The organisation mainly consisted of Eritrean students, professionals and intellectuals. It engaged in clandestine political activities intended to cultivate resistance to the centralising policies of the imperial Ethiopian state. In the next decade the Emperor decided to dissolve the federation between Ethiopia and Eritrea and annexed the special region. This rulted in an almost thirty-year long armed struggle called the Eritrean War of Independence. The organisation called the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) fought in its war against the Ethiopian Government since 1 September 1961, in 1970 a splinter group from ELF was made called the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), their rivalry started the grow and in February 1972, they had their 1st inter-rebel conflict. Their rivalry paused in 1974, and calls for the conflict to stop were finally heeded. These calls for peace came from local villagers at a time when the independence movement was close to victory over Ethiopia. On 12 September 1974, a successful coup d'état was made against the Emperor led by Lieutenant General Aman Andom the Emperor was later imprisoned after his overthrew. The government was led by the pro-Soviet's Ethiopian soldiers which establish an almost 7-year long military junta.
The ELF-EPLF's peace lasted only 6 years, in February 1980 EPLF declared war to ELF, after that ELF and Soviet Union started secret negotiations about the war. Their 2nd inter-rebel conflict lasted until 1981, and was more victorious to EPLF with help from Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) ELF out of Eritrea. They were eventually pushed across the border into the Sudan. On 27 May 1991 the new Ethiopian Transitional Government was formed after the fall of the pro-Soviet government. The Ethiopian Transitional Government promised to hold a referendum, within two years in the region. The referendum was held between 23–25 April 1993 with a 99.81% in favour of independence, on 4 May 1993 the official independence of Eritrea was established. In November 1997 both countries had almost a major border conflict and tried to solve the dispute. After the countries had not decided where the line of the border was (before the referendum).
On 8 May 1998, sporadic clashes over the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea which killed several Eritrean officials near the former disputed town Badme. A great force of Eritrean mechanised entered the former disputed town, as result there was a firefight between the Eritrean soldiers and the Tigrayan militia and security police they encountered. On 13 May 1998, 5 days after the incidents the Eritrean radio which described the incidents as a "total war" policy from Ethopia, also claimed that the Ethopian Army was mobilising for a full assault against Eritrea. The organisation Claims Commission found that this was in essence an affirmation of the existence of a state of war between belligerents, not a declaration of war, and that Ethiopia also notified the United Nations Security Council, as required under Article 51 of the UN Charter.
After the ceasefire was launched on 18 June 2000, both parties agreed to have a 25 kilometres (16 mi) wide demilitarised zone called Temporary Security Zone (TSZ). Within Eritrea, patrolled by the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) an organisation for the border stabilising for future conflicts between the countries. On 31 July 2000, UNMEE was official launched and started patrolling the border. Half year later on 12 December, a peace agreement was signed in Algiers, Algeria by both countries.
In September 2007, Kjell Bondevik a United Nations' official warned that a new war could resume as a border conflict. On 16 January 2008, the Eritrean Government give up all of its claims in Ethiopia. By February 2008, UNMEE pulling its peacekeepers out Eritrea due Eritrean Government restrictions of fual supplies. On 30 July 2008, the Security Council hold a vote to end the UN mission the next day the UN mission has ended.
Ethiopia declared in April 2011, openly it will support Eritrean rebel groups. Conflict deepened in 2012, when Ethiopia launched an offensive into Eritrean-held territory. Three camps were attacked, and a number of people were killed or captured in the process. Several weeks prior to the offensive, Ethiopia blamed Eritrea for supporting the Ethiopian rebels, who staged a January 2012 raid in the northern Afar Region that killed five Western tourists. In June 2016, Eritrea claimed 200 Ethiopian soldiers were killed and 300 wounded in a Battle at Tsorona. On 10 October 2016, the Ethiopian Government claimed that Eritrea and Egypt were behind the Oromo protests.
On 8 July 2018, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed arrived in Asmara, Eritrea. Where his counterpart President Isaias Afwerki greeted him at Asmara International Airport, the day after both leaders signed a five-point Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship declaring that "the state of war between Ethiopia and Eritrea has come to an end; a new era of peace and friendship has been opened" and ceded Badme to Eritrea.
After the Eritrea–Ethiopia peace summit in July, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy requested to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to lift the United Nations' sanctions on Eritrea imposed largely due to the efforts of Ethiopian diplomacy—on Eritrea. The airline company Ethiopian Airlines announced that it would resume flights to Asmara on Monday 16 July 2018.
Later in July, between 14–16 July President Isaias visited Ethiopia and its President Mulatu Teshome. Isaias affirmed the unity of Eritrea and Ethiopia, saying "henceforth, anyone who says Eritreans and Ethiopians are two different peoples is one that doesn't know the truth." He visited an industrial park in Awasa and presided over the reopening of the Eritrean Embassy. On 6 September, an Ethiopian embassy was reopened in the Eritrean capital Asmara. On 11 September for the first time in 20 years the Eritrea–Ethiopia border crossing was reopened. Five days later, both leaders signed an official new peace agreement in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.