1. Home
  2. East Africa
  3. Eritrea

Border ruling "wrong and unjust", Meles says

[Ethiopia] Meles Zenawi speaks to the media after meeting with the Security Council. IRIN
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi branded the crucial boundary ruling that places the symbolic village of Badme in Eritrea as “wrong and unjust” on Tuesday. His comments come amid increasing tensions between both countries over the controversial decision by the independent Eritrea-Ethiopian Boundary Commission (EEBC). “Well accepting that war is unacceptable is one thing,” the prime minister told reporters after meeting Irish rock singer Bob Geldof. “Accepting something that is wrong and unjust as right and just would not be fair, would it?” It is the first time Meles has spoken to the international media on the ruling since the fate of Badme was definitively made known in March 2003. Ethiopia is contesting the ruling and has called for changes to the decision. The 1998-2000 border war between Eritrea and Ethiopia was triggered by a border skirmish in the village of Badme. Under the terms of the Algiers peace agreement in December 2000, they agreed to set up a boundary commission to mark out their territories under a legal “final and binding” ruling. However, the prime minister stressed that the country would not go back to war – although he added that if attacked Ethiopia, would defend itself. “We have made it abundantly clear that we will not shoot at anybody, Eritrea included,” Meles said. “The only circumstance where we may have to shoot is if shot at – that is the only circumstance.” The UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) has said that talks between both countries could help bolster the peace process. But the Eritrean government has dismissed any notion of dialogue on the border issue as “unthinkable”, telling IRIN that the matter is "closed and hermetically sealed". The only exchanges take place at the Military Coordination Commission (MCC) talks between senior-ranking armed forces officials from the two countries under UN auspices.

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

Share this article

Hundreds of thousands of readers trust The New Humanitarian each month for quality journalism that contributes to more effective, accountable, and inclusive ways to improve the lives of people affected by crises.

Our award-winning stories inform policymakers and humanitarians, demand accountability and transparency from those meant to help people in need, and provide a platform for conversation and discussion with and among affected and marginalised people.

We’re able to continue doing this thanks to the support of our donors and readers like you who believe in the power of independent journalism. These contributions help keep our journalism free and accessible to all.

Show your support as we build the future of news media by becoming a member of The New Humanitarian. 

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.