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Border ruling "dangerous", says Tigray president

[Ethiopia] Tigray President Tsegay Berhe.
IRIN/Anthony Mitchell

The president of Tigray has branded the border ruling between Ethiopia and Eritrea as “dangerous” in his annual report to the region’s state council.

Tsegay Berhe told officials from the region – which borders Eritrea - that the ruling was "unfair and unjust".

His 50-page report spelt out the strength of feeling in Tigray over last year’s ruling by the independent Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission.

Tigray was the scene of some of the heaviest fighting between Ethiopia and Eritrea during the two-year border war which claimed some 70,000 lives.

But it was the controversial announcement in March this year, placing the Ethiopian-administered town of Badme in Eritrea, which has fuelled tensions. Badme is the flashpoint of the war. Other decisions – like awarding the northern tip of Irob in northern Tigray to Eritrea – have also sparked anger over the ruling by The Hague-based commission.

Demarcation of the border is expected to take place in October after being delayed twice. But Ethiopian officials are demanding key changes to the ruling – particularly in Tigray.

Tsegay said the federal government had supported the April 2002 boundary ruling because it believed adjustments could be made during the demarcation process.

“That is why Ethiopia positively responded to the delimitation decision,” he told representatives at the state council in the regional capital Mekelle. “Despite this the commission went out of its mandate and jurisdiction to award Badme to Eritrea. This is a wrong decision.”

"Our government is doing its level best to peacefully fight this injustice," he added. “We will push this stance until the last ... Otherwise this will be a very dangerous decision.”

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