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N E I G H B O U R S and the restoration of Ethiopian the Eritrean frontier 2) respecting the civilian administration in the area sanctity of the colonial frontiers and with the assistance of a third party 3) international arbitration for the military observer group. Due to the delimitation of the frontier. controversy that trailed the wording In accordance with the agreement, of the OAU proposal, particularly a U.N. peace-keeping force was the phrase “Badme and its environs”, deployed in the region and a special which was understood by both the commission known as the Eritreancountries differently, a stalemate perEthiopian Boundary Commission sisted over its clarification. (EEBC) was set up by the The second round of war comInternational Court of Justice to menced in the middle of 1999 in study the case. The EEBC gave its which Ethiopia regained Badme and verdict after hearing from both the its environs. Although the parties on April 13, 2002. The verdict Ethiopians were gaining in the batby the commission was a failure in tlefront this time, they did not conthe sense that Ethiopia did not accept tinue it or rather could not continue the verdict in full although the The second round of war it. The fighting stopped in July 1999 Algiers agreement had specifically partly due to the weather. It was the mentioned the final and binding commenced in the middle of rainy season and more importantly nature of the agreement, which both 1999 in which Ethiopia regained the parties had signed. In fact, the sufficient economic support for a Badme and its environs. prolonged war was lacking not only Boundary Commission had a for Eritrea but also for Ethiopia. detailed hearing on the matter taking Although the Ethiopians were Taking advantage of the temporary into consideration the arguments put gaining in the battlefront this halt of fighting, the OAU endorsed forward by the parties as well as by time, they did not continue it. a new document and presented it to the colonial treaties that had been both sides on July 12. Surprisingly, signed during the Italian colonial The fighting stopped in July both Eritrea and Ethiopia initially rule. 1999 partly due to the weather. It accepted the OAU sponsored agreeBased on this, some areas of the was the rainy season and a ment but later Ethiopia indirectly territory were given to Ethiopia while stated its rejection of the Technical some were awarded to Eritrea, prolonged war called for Arrangements, which aimed at notably the disputed and much consufficient economic support. implementing the framework agreetested territory village of Badme.34 The award of the territory of Badme ment and modalities on December 14 through its deputy minister who maintained that it is abso- to Eritrea has resulted in disagreements on the part of Ethiopia lutely difficult for Ethiopia to accept the technical arrange- since Eritrea has been vindicated for the start of the war while ments.32 Following this development, the third round of hos- Ethiopia feels accused of the same.35 In other words, the decitilities took place in May 2000 with enormous loss on both sion, by extension, made the government of Ethiopia appear sides. The Ethiopian armed forces penetrated the western part guilty for beginning the war and hence it has appealed for a of Eritrea, inflicting enormous losses and destruction on the revision of the award, which the court has rejected as inadpopulations of Barentu and Tesseney, sparking a massive dis- missible.36 Ethiopia, facing intense domestic pressure, stated its rejection of the Boundary Commission openly. It was menplacement of people. tioned already that some of the governing parties within the ruling EPRDF were originally against any signing of the The Algiers Agreement and Aftermath Accord and now that the much contested territory of Badme In October 2000, both the governments entered into nego- has been awarded to Eritrea, it has given them even more tiations in the Algerian capital of Algiers in the presence of rep- leverage to press for changes in the decision of the resentatives from the United States, Algeria, the European Commission. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told the Union, the United Nations and the OAU.32 At the same time Ethiopian Parliament that “the independent Eritrea-Ethiopia the United Nations Security Council authorised the forma- Boundary Commission (EEBC) which ruled on the border tion of a United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea with dispute as ‘null and void’ and went on to add that the imple4,200 blue helmets for monitoring the cease-fire between the mentation of the contested ruling would only escalate already two countries.33 heightened tensions.”37 On its part, Eritrea ruled out any On December 12, 2000, the comprehensive agreement of changes in the border ruling and has since then been protestpeace in Algiers was signed. Among other things, the agree- ing at various levels –– the United Nations, EU, the AU and ment provided for: 1) de-militarisation of the frontier and the U.S. –– regarding Ethiopia’s rejection of the EEBC and creation of a Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) 20 km inside the violation of the rule of law.


February-April 2007


February 2007-April 2007