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Preventing another African war – Blog reviews on the Ethiopian-Eritrean dispute

As seven African leaders met in the Nigerian capital of Abuja over the weekend to discuss ways of moving their continent forward, Ethiopia and Eritrea had troops amassed on their borders. Amongst the leaders meeting at Abuja was the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. An Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict is something to be dreaded. Both countries fought a bitter war over a border dispute from 1998 to 2000 in which tens of thousands of lives were lost. The Organization of African Unity (OAU) and United Nations mediated and a peace agreement was signed on 12 December 2002 in Algiers, six months after a ceasefire was agreed. An Ethiopian-Eritrean Boundary Commission was set up and its recommendation was accepted and made binding by the United Nations Security Council on 13 April 2002.

The general perception in the blogosphere on the reasons why Ethiopia may want to go to war with Eritrea appears to be one of skepticism. Ethiopundit, for instance makes it clear that there can be “absolutely no justification for another single drop of blood, sweat or tears to be shed or wasted by anyone in any possible disagreement the two may yet have.” It sees the war as a farce on both sides. The Eritrean government, it says, needs Western attention “because it is going broke and facing rising internal opposition.” The Ethiopian government on the other hand would like to divert Western attention from the collapse of the pretense of democracy (a reference to the Ethiopian elections held in May 2005, the fairness of which was hotly disputed by the opposition).

Greg's Africa Thoughts, the blog of Greg Fischer, a Christian missionary based in Entebbe, Uganda also speaks about the Ethiopian-Eritrean dispute. He states:

“I make several trips each year into the region where Ethiopia and Eritrea share a common border. Many times from my hotel room I have heard the distant ‘boom-boom’ of heavy artillery fire. The airport is often the scene of jet fighters roaring off to Eritrea.”

Greg Fisher also appears deeply concerned about the persecution of evangelical Christians by the Eritrean government.

African Bullets and Honey, in an article authored by Akinyi Arunga who was recently in Addis Ababa tells about

“…a young women whose brother was arrested [for joining in street protests against the ruling government], feared that his punishment might be getting forced to the frontline should war between Ethiopia and Eritrea break out as is seeming[ly] more likely by the day. She told me that her mother was in tears daily, dreading the worst for her child…”

On most Ethiopian blogs I came across in the blogosphere, the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi appeared to have no support. The mainstream media also continues to follow the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict closely. For now, we should hope that the voice of reason prevails and that the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea are able to resolve their disputes peacefully, adhering to United Nations Security Council resolutions.

6 comments

  • It is gladdening to see that there are people on both sides of the Ethiopian-Eritrean divide who feel that the border dispute can be resolved without going to war.

  • Ras tafari

    Eritrea got lucky last time, If there is another War I pray that the ethiopian amry of 18 million do not take over the whole entire country of Eritrea. I think that eritrea has too much pride and no history, without ethiopia eritrea would be nothing . they are ungrateful, and will soon see there ways.

  • […] Part of the Ethiopian blogosphere continues to rumble with thought-provoking political discussions as ever. ethiopundit lashes out on the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, for his high-handedness. In reference to the last Ethiopian election, it states: “Pressured to treat his people decently for a change by the West, or at least to spill a little less blood in public – the Prime Minister has been totally defiant.” And even though the government of Mr. Zenawi recently made some progress on the border dispute with Eritrea, ethiopundit appears unimpressed. In its words: “Take the recent negotiations with Eritrea where there has been a ‘breakthrough’ which can only mean that Meles is finally going to go along with the results of the arbitration that he rejected then accepted then rejected then accepted then rejected over the past six years…Ethiopia is in these negotiations now simply to make Westerners happy and possibly Eritrea’s government too.” Ethiopian Politics reports that the former Ethiopian dictator, Mengistu Haile Mariam, (who is currently in exile in Zimbabwe) has been interfering in Zimbabwean politics. It tells of a Zimbabwean news service report, which states that there is evidence to prove that “Mengistu was the brain behind a recent controversial ‘clean-up’ campaign that left millions homeless.” […]

  • YOUNG nOEY

    Let’s be REAL for just one second: We all know that the differences between these two nations, is close to none. Whatever HISTORY ETHIOPIA SHARES, ERITREA SHARES AS WELL. WE MUST MAKE IT CLEAR THAT THESE PEOPLE WE ONE UNDER THE SLOGAN “PEOPLE OF ABYSSINA”, NOW HOPEFULLY WE ALL UNDERSTAND THAT ABYSSINA REFERES TO THE PEOPLE OF ORGINAL SEMTIC CIVILIZATION. ANOTHER POINT IS ERITREA HAS SEPERATED FROM ETHIOPIA!!!! BOTTOM LINE. IT’S NOT GOING TO CHANGE, AND IF IT DOES IT WON’T BE FOR A WHILE.BUT LET’S UNITE OUR HEARTS AND MIND. WHO CARES IF ERITREA SEPERATES, DO YOU THINK THAT SOME ETHIOPIANS WON’T FIND A WAY TO STILL MAKE MONEY IN ERITREA? PELASE GO AHEAD BROTHERS, ENRICH BOTH ERITREA AND ETHIOPIA. WHEN I THINK OF PRIDE, I THINK OF OUR PRIDE, THAT ABYSSINNA PRIDE, THAT ANTI-OCCUPATION AND ANTI-IMPERALISM PRIDE WE BOTH HAD! THAT COPTIC CHRISTAIN CHURCH PRIDE, THAT LINE OF KINGS PRIDE. WE ARE KINGS
    MUCH LOVE
    nOEY
    ERITREA-ETHIOPIA 1 LUV

  • mesfin semere

    I care less on what my south brothers say down there. But the moran in Eritrea Isyas, needs to put his action together and that is immediate resignation from his an elected position that has been filled with killing, mass detation, jailing, looting and Dictating. There were more than 100,000 pure young man and woman who sacrified thier beautiful life for the sake of independance and freedom, not for just you and your puppies. Thanks for introducing the new nation as a war monger nation and making Eritrea a night mare to live.
    And all you idiot people who live in luxury abroad, if you think Eritrea is heaven, free to live, a wonderful government. Just get the hell out of the west or where ever you are and go to SAWA, a one way in.
    Freakin Agame killing Eritreans on the name of Woyane! Where is the real Deki Eri???
    Time will tell all. Remember your south enemies, Haile sillasie and mengistu. yours is near too.
    What happened to your motto!
    Go single poor, not Singapore!!

  • Eritrean syndrome is what east africa is suffering from. look at their short history,

    when Ethiopia got invaded by Italy in late 19th century and lost Eritrea it was ethiopia’s fault,

    when the ethiopians got the chance to to reunite eritrea, it was still ethiopia’s fault,

    then in 1993 ethiopians got seek of them and signed them off, after which they gained their slavery, and it still ethiopia’s fault.

    I wonder if and when this sorry society will ever be able to lead a normal life?

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