Conflict Summary

More than a decade after going to war over disputed border areas, Eritrea and Ethiopia are still wrangling over the implementation of a peace agreement. Their 1998–2000 war began on the Badme Plain, after Eritrean soldiers entered this then-Ethiopian region. A week later, Ethiopia mobilised its forces against Eritrea, and things escalated into a major conflict that killed tens of thousands. The two countries’ border disputes have their roots in colonial-era mapping, as well as in their merger into one country between 1952 and 1993, after which Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia. The peace deal struck in 2000 allowed for the formation of an independent boundary commission to demarcate the border, plus a compensation commission. That same year, 4,200 UN peacekeepers were sent to patrol the border. In 2003, the boundaries commission ruled that Badme lies in Eritrea, but Ethiopia refused to accept this and still occupies the region. In 2006, both countries remobilised troops along the border, and there have been growing fears of new hostilities. Under Eritrean pressure, UN peacekeepers pulled out in 2008. The international community has criticised Eritrea and, to a lesser extent, Ethiopia for waging a proxy war in Somalia.