Ethiopia / Eritrea



17 May 2000 - 16 May 2001
(12 months)
Cease hostilities, Agreement negotiation
Sanction Types
  • Arms (arms imports embargo)
Non-UN Sanctions
Regional (EU), Unilateral (no)
Other Policy Instruments
Diplomacy, Peace operations


The border between Eritrea and Ethiopia has been disputed since Eritrea broke away from Ethiopia in 1991. After a series of border incidents resulted in the deaths of several Eritrean officials near the town of Badme, Eritrea invaded the Badme region and several other places on its border with Ethiopia on 6 May 1998. The forces met little resistance and pushed into Ethiopian territory. Ethiopia mobilized its forces, fighting escalated, and after cities in both countries were bombed, the UN Security Council passed UNSCR 1177 (26 June 1998), condemning the violence and calling for a ceasefire and negotiations.

Following some unsuccessful mediation attempts by the US and Rwanda in June 1998 and a long lull in the fighting, Ethiopia launched a major military operation to re-take Badme on 22 February 1999. After Ethiopian troops moved 10 km into Eritrean territory, Eritrea accepted the terms of an OAU peace plan on 27 February 1999. Ethiopia refused and continued its advance. By May, Ethiopian forces had reached further into the country and the fighting continued throughout the year, with both sides occupying entrenched positions in an increasingly stalemated conflict.


The analysis of the Ethiopia / Eritrea case is divided into the following episodes (also navigable via the numbers in the top bar):