This week's In the News takes a look at the renewed fighting in the border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The eleven resources discussed provide news, analysis, and commentary. Horn of Africa neighbors Ethiopia and Eritrea were a single nation until May 1993, when Eritrea achieved sovereignty and seceded from Ethiopia after a protracted war of independence that lasted nearly thirty years. Eritrea, a nation of 3.6 million located on the Red Sea, was a former Italian colony (1890-1941) that was put under British administration during World War II, federated as an autonomous unit by Ethiopia in 1952, and then finally absorbed by the Ethiopian empire in 1962. Since Eritrea's independence from Ethiopia in 1993, the two nations have disputed the demarcation of their 620-mile shared boundary, which was ostensibly delimited earlier this century in a series of treaties between the Imperial Government of Ethiopia and the Italian colonial government in Eritrea. Despite recent bilateral attempts to delineate the former colonial divide, a joint border commission has failed to settle the dispute. This on-going border conflict, compounded by severe economic tensions between the two states, erupted into war when Ethiopian and Eritrean forces clashed on May 6, 1998, in the Ethiopian-administered region of Badme. The skirmish resulted in about five weeks of fierce battle that ended last June with an unofficial peace plan brokered by the US and Rwanda. However, on February 6, the tenuous seven month stalemate snapped as heavy fighting re-ignited at several flashpoints along the contested border where both countries had amassed troops. Last weekend amid continued fighting, a delegation from the European Union failed to reach a cease-fire agreement between Eritrean President Isayas Afewerki and Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin. The unsuccessful proposal, based on a framework drafted by the Organization of African Unity, called for Eritrea to concede its current positions and return to the territory it held before the border conflict last May. As military involvement between the two countries escalates, the EU, the OAU, and the United Nations Security Council promise to re-initiate the mediation process as soon as possible before the Horn War further destabilizes east Africa.


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