Ethiopia: Boundaries: International and Administrative

Posted: February 21, 2008 in History
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Boundaries: International and Administrative

Except for the Red Sea coastline, only limited stretches of the country’s borders are defined by natural features. Most of Ethiopia’s borders have been delimited by treaty. The Ethiopia-Somalia boundary has long been an exception, however. One of its sectors has never been definitively demarcated, thanks to disputed interpretations of 1897 and 1908 treaties signed by Britain, Italy, and Ethiopia. This sector was delimited by a provisional “Administrative Line” that was defined by a 1950 Anglo-Ethiopian agreement, when the United Nations (UN) established Somalia as a trust territory. After it became independent in 1960, Somalia refused to recognize any of the border treaties signed between Ethiopia and the former colonial powers. The Somali government also demanded a revision of the boundary that would ensure self-determination for Somali living in the Ogaden. Consequently, the frontier became the scene of recurrent violence and open warfare between Ethiopia and Somalia.

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