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April 20-21, 1997
A meeting to discuss border issues that had surfaced in the course of
the previous year was held in Shire, Tigray, Ethiopia between the vice
president of the Tigray Region of Ethiopia, and the deputy administrator
of the Gash-Barka Region of Eritrea.
June 22-27, 1997
A sub-committee, designated in accordance with the Shire decisions, met
to make a tour of the "demarcations," a length it determined
at about 40 kms. It was established then that, not just one, but a set
of at least three demarcations, each creeping deeper into Eritrea had
been laid on the ground. This was, naturally, highly objectionable to
the Eritrean representatives.
July 18-19, 1997
"Three truckloads of Ethiopian troops entered the Badme area and
planted radio communications equipment. Eritrean territory inside the
"unilaterally demarcated" area was, thus, put under patrol.
Subsequently to these massive expulsion of Eritreans begun."
July 24, 1997
Ethiopian administrators instructed the Eritrean administrators to disband
-- they were taking over. They declared Adi Murug Ethiopian territory
and appointed their own administrative committee.
August 8, 1997
Two Eritrean officials traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss the
matter with their counterparts in Ethiopia. They tried to register their
protest on what was happening at Adi Murug and in Badme and that it was
inconsistent with the friendly relationship between the two sides. They
argued that using force to create facts on the ground was not acceptable.
They also asked that the Ethiopian government reverse the steps it had
taken. Any outstanding matters, they maintained, could be handled in a
spirit of understanding and taking the welfare of the border population
October 17, 1997
Weyin, the official organ of the TPLF, printed a new map of Tigray
Region, which for the first time, in almost a hundred years, altered Eritrea's
colonial border with Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Mapping Authority also officially
printed this "illegal" map of the Tigray Region. The map later
appeared on the new Ethiopian currency.
The Joint High Commission met in Asmara, Eritrea and agreed to meet again
within three months. There was no discussion on substantive matters. In
the meantime, in January 1998, Ethiopian troops were deployed to the border
on the Assab line to demand that the Eritrean border post situated on
the Assab-Addis Ababa road move several kilometers towards Assab, as the
area was being claimed by Ethiopia. A patient handling and quiet diplomacy
on the part of Eritrea averted what could have been a dangerous confrontation.
:Ethiopia tried by military means to occupay sovereign Eritrean territory
on the Burie area (Assab-Dessie road ). Unfortunately, Eritrean efforts
to solve the problem amicably and bilaterally failed as the Government
of Ethiopia continued to bring under its occupation the Eritrean territories
that it had incorporated into its map.
May 6, 1998
Ethiopian troops, unprovoked, fired at an Eritrean patrol unit on routine
duty along the border around Badme. Several of its members were killed.
This triggered off a chain reaction on both sides.
May 13, 1998
The Ethiopian Parliament declared war on Eritrea!
May 14, 1998
The Eritrean Government called for peace and invited neutral parties
to examine the circumstances leading to the incident of May 6.