Ethiopia: Deadlock


October 1, 2005: Ethiopia cannot accept the UN commission decision to give the tiny border area of Badme to Eritrea, even though the ruling party retained control in the recent elections. "Giving up" Badme would most likely cause a loss of control during the next round of elections. In Eritrea, the ruling group have not allowed free elections, because they know they would get voted out of a job. Getting Badme from Ethiopia will help the Eritrean dictator, but not enough to satisfy the majority of Eritreans.

September 27, 2005: Ethiopia arrested 80 people and seized some weapons in the Islamic Oromia region. Ethiopia has been, for over a thousand years, an empire with a Christian core in the highlands, and minority Moslem populations surrounding the core. The Moslems comprise the bulk of the opposition, with many Moslems wanting more autonomy for the Moslem provinces.

September 26, 2005: The UN's Special Envoy to Ethiopia and Eritrea said that the political and diplomatic "stalemate" between Eritrea and Ethiopia had to be resolved. One possible diplomatic initiative would be to bring representatives from the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), and the US to the region. The AU, EU, and the United States helped sponsor the ceasefire talks in 2000.

September 21, 2005: Eritrea told the UN that it had "the right, to defend and preserve its territorial integrity by any means." If this sounds like saber-rattling, that's because it is. Though the independent boundary commission awarded the Badme area to Eritrea in April 2002, Ethiopia still refuses to accept the decision. The December 2000 ceasefire accord supposedly committed both Eritrea and Ethiopia to accept the commission's ruling.


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