- Foreign relations of Ethiopia
Like many states in
sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopiawas relatively isolated from other countries not immediately adjacent to her, until well into the 19th century. Many historians trace modern Ethiopian foreign policy to the reign of Emperor Tewodros II, whose primary concerns were the security of Ethiopia's traditional borders, obtaining technology from Europe (or modernization), and to a lesser degree Ethiopian rights to the monastery of Dar-es-Sultanin the city of Jerusalem. [The political history of the Ethiopian community, and their struggle for ownership of this small monastery, is retold in Chris Proutky, "Empress Taytu and Menelik II" (Trenton: The Red Sea Press, 1986), pp. 247-256] Tewodros' diplomatic efforts, however, ended disastrously with the British expedition of 1868 which concluded with his death. Despite the efforts of his successor Emperor Yohannes IV to establish a relationship with the United Kingdom, Ethiopia was ignored by the world powers until the opening of the Suez Canal, and more importantly the Mahdist War, drew outside attention to her once more. [Although Bahru Zewde, "A History of Modern Ethiopia", second edition (Oxford: James Currey, 2001), believes that the Suez Canal brought strategic value to the Red Sea region (p. 73), Sven Rubenson, "The Survival of Ethiopian Independence" (Hollywood: Tsehai,1991) argues that only with the Mahdi War did the United Kingdom interest themselves once again in Ethiopia (pp. 283ff).]
The same major interests that Tewodros had -- the security of Ethiopia's traditional borders and modernization -- were once again foremost, as demonstrated by the outcome of the
First Italo-Abyssinian War, Ethiopia's admission to the League of Nations( 28 September 1923), and the 1935 Italian invasion. Since World War II, it has played an active role in world and Africanaffairs. Ethiopia was a charter memberof the United Nationsand took part in UN operations in Koreain 1951 and the Congo in 1960. Former Emperor Haile Selassiewas a founder of the Organization of African Unity(OAU). Addis Ababais the host capital for the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the OAU.
Although nominally a member of the
Non-Aligned Movement, after the 1974 revolution, Ethiopia moved into a close relationship with the Soviet Unionand its allies and supported their international policies and positions until the change of government in 1991.
Today, Ethiopia has very good relations with the U.S. and the West, especially in responding to regional instability and, increasingly, through economic involvement. Ethiopia's relations with
Eritreaare extremely tense due to an ongoing border dispute. Continuing instability along Ethiopia's borders with Sudanand Somaliacontributes to tension with the National Islamic Frontregime in Sudan and several groups in Somalia.
*Most of the southern half of the boundary with Somalia is a Provisional Administrative Line, not an international boundary
Somalilandsecessionists provide port facilities and trade ties to landlocked Ethiopia
Territorial disputewith Somalia over the Ogaden
*Although the Government of Ethiopia has allied with local clans in opposition to the Transitional National Government in the past, it currently is supporting the Transitional Government against its main rival, the
Islamic Courts Union.
*Dispute over alignment of boundary with Eritrea led to the
Eritrean-Ethiopian War(1998 - 2000), which was resolved by the 2002 independent boundary commission's delimitation decision. However, demarcation has been delayed, despite intense international intervention, by Ethiopian insistence that the decision ignored "human geography," made technical errors in the delimitation, and determined that certain disputed areas, specifically Badme, fall to Eritrea. Eritrea meanwhile insists on not deviating from the commission's decision
*Efforts to demarcate the porous boundary with Sudan have been delayed by civil war
*Transit hub for
heroinoriginating in Southwest and Southeast Asia and destined for Europe and North America, as well as cocainedestined for markets in southern Africa.
*Cultivates qat (
khat) for local use and regional export, principally to Djiboutiand Somalia.
*Lack of a well-developed financial system limits the country's usefulness as a
Ethiopian diplomatic missions
Foreign aid to Ethiopia
List of diplomatic missions in Ethiopia
Ethiopia-United States relations
* [http://mfa.gov.et/index.php Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Ethiopia's webpage]
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