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Eritrea

Yearbook 1998

Eritrea. After a period of disagreement over the border crossing between Eritrea and Ethiopia, fighting in the border area erupted in May. Eritrea claimed that Ethiopian forces attacked Eritrean territory, while Ethiopia claimed that Eritrean troops occupied an area on Ethiopian soil. The conflict escalated in June, when the airport in the capital Asmera was bombed by Ethiopian flights and Eritrean flights carried out bombings against the Ethiopian cities of Meqele and Adigrat. The land battles spread along the border, i.e. to quite close to the port city of Aseb.

1998 Eritrea

According to Countryaah, the conflict between the former allies surprised the outside world but seemed to have several causes. The frontier had never been properly demarcated, and both sides presented conflicting maps of the colonial era in support of their territorial demands. The introduction of a new currency, nakfa, in Eritrea in 1997 had complicated trade exchanges and led to increased demands in Ethiopia to regain Aseb, which was lost by Eritrea's independence in 1993.

Following mediation of Italy and the United States, the flight stops were canceled on June 15. The ground fighting, too, soon ebbed out after demanding hundreds of deaths. However, a number of international peace initiatives were stranded, mainly due to Eritrea's refusal to withdraw their troops from the disputed area before peace talks.

While the United States and the African Organization of African Unity (OAU) continued their mediation efforts, the conflict turned into a war of words, with both sides accusing each other of mass deportations under brutal forms of the other country's citizens. Occasional shooting across the border occurred during the fall, as both sides reinforced their troops in the area.

In the shadow of the conflict with Ethiopia, Eritrea normalized relations with Yemen, after an international arbitration tribunal divided the disputed Hanisharki law in the Red Sea between the two countries and gave Eritrea the right to fish in the Yemeni zone.

In November, Eritrea and Sudan agreed to resolve the inconvenience through negotiations rather than arms power. Their relationship had been strained for many years and both countries have supported the opposition's armed opposition.

 
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