Border Dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea

1. About the dispute

In May 1998, a serious military conflict erupted between Ethiopia and Eritrea on the disputed border territory of Badmie area. In November, the High Level Delegation of OAU submitted the 11-point proposals as a Framework Agreement for a peaceful settlement of the dispute between the two countries, which requests both sides to redeploy their armed forces to where they were prior to 6 May, 1998, and undertake to end all hostilities. The framework agreement was later endorsed by the summit meeting of the Central Organ of Mechanism of Prevention, Management & Resolution of Conflict, and gained support from the United Nations. Ethiopia accepted it, while Eritrea refused it. In Feb. 1999, after Ethiopia regained the Badmie area by force, Eritrea expressed its acceptance of the Framework Agreement. On 14, June, the 35th OAU Summit at the Algiers approved the Modalities for Implementation of the Framework Agreement, requesting both sides to implement completely the Framework agreement of OAU. Then , experts from OAU, the United Nations, the United States and Algeria collectively worked out the Technical Arrangements for the implementation of the OAU Framework Agreement and its Modalities. The arrangements were submitted to Ethiopia and Eritrea at the beginning of August. On 8 August, Eritrea accepted the Technical Arrangements while Ethiopia referred a letter to the current Chairman of OAU, requesting a series of clarifications regarding the Technical Arrangements especially on the problems as redeployment of the troops of both sides and restoration of civilian administration. OAU gave its clarifications in response to the questions by Ethiopia relating to the Technical Arrangement at the end of August. On 4 September, Ethiopian Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing its willingness to continue dialogue with OAU and through the continued consultations to work out an acceptable arrangement. On 6 September, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Eritrea issued a statement, saying that the statement by Ethiopian side did not constitute a rejection of the Technical Arrangements alone but of the entire OAU peace package, thus it was a tantamount to a declaration of war. Eritrea side would have no choice but to resort to legitimate acts of self-defence. Afterwards, OAU emissary conducted shuttle diplomacy between Ethiopia and Eritrea without any results. In February, 2000, envoys of OAU Chairman and US President went to the two countries for further mediation without success. Fighting resumed on the eastern border of the two countries.

2.Position of the Chinese Government to Ethiopia-Eritrea Conflict

Both Ethiopia and Eritrea are friendly countries of China. The Chinese Government has been paying a good deal of attention to what is going on between the two countries, and feels deeply grieved by the loss of lives and properties of both countries in the conflict. We hold that the dispute between the two countries can only be solved through peaceful negotiation. Both Ethiopia and Eritrea are developing countries, and face the same challenge of developing their own economy and improving the living standard of their peoples. They are in urgent need of a peaceful, stable and safe environment both at home and abroad. It is the sincere hope of the Chinese Government that the two countries should work with the mediating efforts of OAU, bring an end to hostilities as soon as possible and solve the border dispute peacefully. The Chinese Government appreciates and supports every effort made by OAU as well as international community to resolve the dispute. China will continue to make its own contributions to the peaceful solution of the border dispute between the two countries along with the international community.

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