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Ethiopian Foreign Relations

The first British mission, under Lord Valentía and Mr Henry Salt, which was sent in 1805 to conclude an alliance with Abyssinia, and Brlllsh obtain a port on the Red Sea in case France secured mission Egypt by dividing up the Turkish empire with Russia. This mission was succeeded by many travellers, missionaries and merchants of all countries, and the stream of Europeans continued until well into Theodore's reign.

Ethiopia was relatively isolated from major movements of world politics until Italian invasions in 1895 and 1935. Since World War II, it has played an active role in world and African affairs. Ethiopia was a charter member of the United Nations and took part in UN operations in Korea in 1951 and the Congo in 1960. Former Emperor Haile Selassie was a founder of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU). Addis Ababa also hosts the UN Economic Commission for Africa. Ethiopia is also a member of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a Horn of Africa regional grouping.

Although nominally a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, after the 1974 revolution, Ethiopia moved into a close relationship with the Soviet Union and its allies and supported their international policies and positions until the change of government in 1991. Today, Ethiopia has good relations with the United States and the West, especially in responding to regional instability and supporting counterterrorism efforts.

Ethiopia's relations with Eritrea remained tense and unresolved following a brutal 1998-2000 border war in which an estimated 70,000 died. The two countries signed a peace agreement in December 2000. A five-member independent international commission--the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC)--issued a decision in April 2002 delimiting the border. In November 2007 the EEBC issued a decision that the border was demarcated based on map coordinates (usual demarcation based on pillars on the ground had not yet occurred due to disagreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea) and disbanded. Ethiopia did not consider the border to be demarcated, though Eritrea does. In July 2008 the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) peacekeeping mission was terminated due to Eritrean restrictions impeding its ability to operate. Both countries have stationed approximately 100,000 troops along the border, which has become more dangerous due to the departure of UNMEE. Both countries insist they will not instigate fighting, but both also remain prepared for any eventuality. Regarding its neighbor Somalia, the weakness of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and factional fighting in Somalia contributes to tensions along the boundaries of the two countries. Ethiopia recently entered into a loose tripartite (nonmilitary) cooperation with Sudan and Yemen.

Ethiopia announced 06 June 2018 it would fully accept the terms of a peace agreement with neighboring Eritrea in a major step toward calming deadly tensions with its decades-long rival, as dramatic reforms under a new prime minister continue.

The irredentist claims of the extremist-controlled Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) in Somalia in 2006 posed a legitimate security threat to Ethiopia and to the TFG of Somalia. In December 2006, the TFG requested the assistance of the Ethiopian military to respond to the CIC's aggression. Within a few weeks, the joint Ethiopian-TFG forces routed the CIC from Somalia. Subsequently, Ethiopia stationed troops in Somalia (largely around Mogadishu), awaiting full deployment of the African Union's Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). However, the slow buildup of AMISOM troop levels pushed the Ethiopian Government to announce that its army would withdraw from the country in a matter of weeks. By the end of January 2009, all of its 3,000-4,000 troops had left the country. While Ethiopia did not have a military presence in Somalia as of mid-2012, it was highly cognizant of the ongoing conflict as a key national security concern.

Egypt and Ethiopian have been locked in a dispute over the waters of the Nile River. Egypt claims the hydroelectric dam that Ethiopia is building on the river will greatly reduce its share of the river’s flow. The Ethiopian government blamed regional rival Egypt for supporting rebels and forcing Addis Ababa into declaring a state of emergency on 09 October 2016. “We have ample evidence that trainings have happened, financing has happened in Egypt, the jury is still out whether the Egyptian government is going to claim responsibility for that,” Ethiopian government spokesman Getachew Reda told reporters. Egypt denied any support for the Ethiopian rebels.

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Page last modified: 27-11-2019 18:52:51 ZULU