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DESTINATION ETHIOPIA
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Warning!

Both Ethiopia and Eritrea are claiming victory in a long-standing border dispute, settled in April 2002 by a Hague court ruling. The Hague ruling demarcates once and for all the 1000km (620mi) border that had been the source of a two-year war between the nations. The two countries signed a peace agreement in December 2000, but disagreements over the border kept relations tense.

The governments of both countries have agreed to the terms and conditions of the border demarcation, though a propaganda war over who got the best deal continues. Despite Ethiopian claims of victory, the controversial town of Badme, the site of the first flare-ups in 1998, was given to Eritrea.

Whether the solution to the border dispute brings lasting peace to the region remains to be seen. There are currently over 4000 United Nations peacekeepers in the region on high alert, and tens of thousands of undetonated land mines still pepper the countryside on both sides of the border. Troops in the area say the potential for isolated skirmishes is still a reality. Over 70,000 people died during the war between 1998 and 2000.

Although the situation for travellers to Ethiopia has improved immeasurably, travel after dark is ill-advised and areas near the Eritrean border should still be avoided. Areas near the Somali border should also be avoided, due to banditry. If travelling to Sudan or Kenya, get local advice and travel in convoy. Steer clear of public political gatherings and demonstrations, particularly in Islamic regions.


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