Ethiopia Foreign policy issues

By | February 3, 2021

Foreign policy issues

The external relations of Ethiopia are very pronounced. Ethiopia is a member of numerous organizations, including the African Union (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

According to constructmaterials, Ethiopia is a country located in Eastern Africa. Ethiopia traditionally has good relations with Germany. The visit of Emperor Haile Selassie I in 1954 was one of the first state visits to the young Federal Republic of Germany. Economic cooperation intensifies, the volume of foreign trade grows. Germany is one of the largest buyers of Ethiopian goods. In addition, Ethiopia is one of the priority countries for German development cooperation.

The relations between Ethiopia and the European Union are good. The EU is not only an important trading partner for Ethiopia, but also an important donor institution for development cooperation and a reliable partner in the field of humanitarian aid.

The relations to China are becoming increasingly important. China’s engagement in Ethiopia is visible in many areas – be it in the form of broadband internet, the tram in Addis Ababa or the improvement of the road network.

Crises, wars and peace – Ethiopia’s role in the Horn of Africa

Armed Ethiopian

Armed Ethiopian

Due to its geopolitically important location on the Horn of Africa and its western-oriented politics, Ethiopia has become an important partner for the USA in the fight against international Islamist terror.

Relations with Eritrea have been at the center of the country’s external relations since it gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993. The relations that were initially good after the joint fight against the Derg regime deteriorated increasingly after the independence of Eritrea and finally culminated in the border war from 1998 to 2000 with probably over 100,000 deaths. The war was ended by an armistice of June 2000 and the peace treaty of Algiers of December 12, 2000. A peace mission, the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, was established. The ruling of the Border Commission, which both countries wanted to be final and binding, was announced in April 2002. The demarcation of the border should begin in 2003. However, after it became clear that the town of Badme, around which the war had originally ignited, had been slammed by the Eritrea border commission, Ethiopia abandoned its position and from then on only declared itself with the demarcation of indisputable areas (approx. 85% of the border) I Agree. Eritrea, in turn, only rejected the start of demarcation in the undisputed border areas. In November 2006, the Boundary Commission agreed to fix the course of the border by defining 146 geographical coordinates. In the meantime, UNMEE troops have been withdrawn from Eritrea.

In 2012 there were tensions between the two states. After the aforementioned attack on a tourist group in the Eritrean border area, Ethiopia attacked targets in Eritrea in March 2012. It made the Eritrean government responsible for training and arming bandits and terrorist groups in the region.

When Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed in April 2018, binational relationships improved suddenly. In June 2018, the Ethiopian government announced that it would accept the 2002 peace treaty in full. After historical mutual state visits and the opening of the border, a friendship treaty between Ethiopia and Eritrea was officially signed in mid-September.

Relations with Somalia are shaped by the largely uncontrolled border between the Somali region of Ethiopia and Somalia, the experience of the Ogaden War of 1977-78 as well as the fear of an Islamic fundamentalist orientation in Somalia and continued actions by armed opposition groups from Somali territory. When the Union of Islamic Courts took control of large parts of Somalia in mid-2006, the Ethiopian government declared war on the Union. This was justified with the fear that the east of the country, inhabited by ethnic Somali people, could be annexed. With the support of the USA, Ethiopian troops were active in Somalia until 2009, where they and the Somali transitional government succeeded in ousting the Union in 2007. The conflict was overbut not with that. An Islamic Courts Union from the company resulting group called Al Shabaab continues in Somalia active and dominates much of the country. Both Kenyan troops and soldiers from an African Union peacekeeping mission are involved in fighting against the Al Shabaab militias. There are also reports of maneuvers by the Ethiopian army in Somalia.

Djibouti is an important economic partner for Ethiopia because of its port there. Aside from the occasional tension due to conflicting interests in using the port, relations are considered good.

The relationship with the southern neighbor Kenya is good. There are occasional cross-border clashes between local ethnic groups. It is therefore systematically mediated between those involved in the conflict at the local level.

After years of tension, there has now been a rapprochement between the Republic of Sudan and Ethiopia. Economic cooperation is good. This includes the use of the Port Sudan port and the improvement of road connections.

Since the independence of South Sudan, Ethiopia has a new neighbor. Relations with the previously largely autonomous region are considered good and have intensified since independence. The Ethiopian government enjoys the trust of both Sudanese states and has sent up to 4,200 soldiers to the controversial Abyei region between Sudan and South Sudan since July 2011 as part of the UNISFA mission mandated by the United Nations Security Council.

In April 2015, a brutal attack on villages in the Gambella region caused a stir. Over 200 people were killed, more than a hundred children kidnapped and thousands of cattle stolen. Members of the Murle ethnic group, who are resident on the southern Sudanese side of the border area and who have already become known in the region through brutal attacks and cattle theft, are believed to be responsible for the attack. However, there is also the theory that the incident was more of a political background and is a sign that the South Sudanese civil war was spilling over into Ethiopia and a deliberate attempt to sabotage the peace process in South Sudan. Ethiopian security forces managed to get almost all of the children to bring them back to their families, around 60 of the attackers are said to have been killed.