Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Eritrea accuses Ethiopia of having ‘declared war’

Eritrea said on Wednesday arch-foe Ethiopia had ”long since declared war” on Asmara by refusing to implement a five-year-old border ruling marking their shared frontier.

Analysts and diplomats fear heightened tensions on the Horn of Africa rivals’ frontier could erupt into a new conflict seven years after they fought a war that killed about 70 000 people.

”In undermining the values of international agreements and refusing to withdraw from sovereign Eritrean territories, the TPLF regime [Ethiopia] has already launched an aggression against the Eritrean people,” said an article in the government-run Eritrea Profile newspaper.

”It is significant that the TPLF clique should now declare war or refrain from doing so, because the regime has long since declared war on Eritrea,” the English-language bi-weekly newspaper said.

Ethiopia has insisted it has no plans to start a war, and says Eritrea is sponsoring insurgents in Ethiopia and also Somalia. Asmara denies those claims.

Asmara and Addis Ababa have been deadlocked over the 1 000km shared border since an independent boundary commission gave the town of Badme to Eritrea in a 2002 ruling.

Eritrea has accused Ethiopia of plotting to invade the Red Sea state at least four times in the last month — a claim that Addis Ababa ridicules.

But diplomats and analysts fear conflict could break out after a late November deadline by the commission to set the border on maps and leave the two nations to physically mark it.

In September, the boundary commission brought the two sides together for talks to push forward measures to physically demarcate the border along the line established in 2002, but the talks made no progress.

The United Nations and the United States have urged both nations to show restraint even as an influential think tank warns that war could erupt within weeks if there is no major international push to stop it.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a report earlier this month that Ethiopia and Eritrea had moved more than 100 000 troops each close to the border.

The world body has a 1 700-strong peacekeeper force monitoring a security buffer zone on Eritrea’s side of the frontier, which is supposed to be demilitarised. — Reuters

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Basic web lessons for South Africa: Government hacks point to...

Recent cyberattacks at the department of justice and the space agency highlight the extent of our naïveté

‘The children cannot cope any more’: Suicide in Calvinia highlights...

How Covid-19 has intensified the physical and emotional burdens placed on children’s shoulders.

More top stories

Sisters pave the way with ecobricks

The durable bricks are made from 30% recycled plastic, some of which they collect from a network of 50 waste pickers

If the inflation-driving supply strain in the US lasts, it...

In South Africa, a strong trade surplus, buoyed by robust commodity prices, will cushion our economy against pressure arising from US policy

Farmers squeezed by big retailers

It may be beneficial for consumers when supermarkets push to get the lowest price from suppliers, but it can harm the farmers

Covid-19: No vaccine booster shots needed yet

Scientists agree it is important to get most of the population vaccinated before giving booster jabs

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…