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Dispute over fishing rights

Eritrea has accused Yemen of disregarding the clarification of the Hague arbitration court, which settled a dispute over fishing rights in the Hanish Islands, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper ‘Al-Sharq al-Awsat’, reported on 26 July.

The two countries fought a brief war in 1996 over the islands, which were being claimed by both. The conflict was resolved in 1999 by international arbitration. Tewelde Medhin, the deputy head of mission in the Eritrean Embassy in Nairobi, told IRIN on 5 April this year that the marine border had also been agreed on after the dispute of over the islands dispute was resolved, and that “relations between the two countries are good and have been getting better”.

Eritrean sources expressed surprise and dismay at what they described as inaccurate reports to the effect that Eritrea had earlier this month seized 106 Yemeni fishing boats, ‘Al-Sharq al-Awsat’ said. The Eritreans expressed concern that some individuals may be trying to damage relations between the two countries by circulating such reports. The differences between the two countries’ interpretation of fishing rights arises from Eritrea’s stance that traditional fishing rights are guaranteed for nationals of both countries in the disputed area, which was later given to Yemen by the Hague court. The court, however, did not give Yemeni fishermen the right to fish in Eritrean territorial waters, said the paper. The paper quotes Eritrean sources as saying, “despite the court’s clarifications, the Yemeni brothers continue to ignore the court’s clarification and are still interpreting the ruling in the way that suits them”.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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