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Yearbook 1996

Eritrea. According to, Eritrea's conflict with Yemen over which of the countries entitled to the strategically important Hani Islands in the Red Sea continued since fighting between the countries occurred in December 1995. The sovereignty of the archipelago has not been established in any international agreement, but in May France managed to negotiate an agreement in which the countries refrain from further armed confrontation and instead commit to solving the conflict through mediation. Eritrea broke the deal in August by occupying the island of Little Hanish, but withdrew its troops after two weeks.

1996 Eritrea

In April 2002, the International Arbitration Court in The Hague issued a ruling on the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict. The 1000 km long border between the two countries was set by a tribunal consisting of 5 international specialists. The border towns of Zalembessa, Alitena and Bada were given to Ethiopia, while Eritrea retained the symbolic significance of the city of Badme since it was where the war started in 1998. According to the experts, it was Ethiopia in particular that met its territorial requirements. However, the actual border demarcation between the two countries has been postponed three times and was not completed in 2004.

In 2002, Eritrea produced only 10% of the necessary food as a result of the drought. When added to the consequences of the war with Ethiopia, the country entered 2003 with the most serious food crisis since independence. During the first few months of the year, 10% of the cattle stock had died and the government estimated that around 80% could die by the end of the year.

According to UN estimates from 2003, 15-20% of children under the age of 5 suffered from malnutrition, of which 10,000 were in an acute critical condition. About 1.4 million of the country's people are starving.

Following the inauguration of the civil government in Denmark in November 2001, Eritrea was declared a program cooperation country for Danish aid, and the last projects are expected to be phased out in 2005.

In October 2004, the government escalated its verbal attacks on Sudan, claiming the existence of a plot between this country and Ethiopia on the murder of Afwerki. Eritrean Minister of Information, Ali Abdu Ahmed, declared that the Khartoum government "continues its efforts to sabotage the peace and stability of Eritrea and the region through its terrorist government and its efforts to assassinate our president". Meanwhile, the country became increasingly isolated as it closed all its borders. According to international observers, there was still less aid and relief for the country and access to uncensored information is becoming increasingly difficult.


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