Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, March 16, 2005

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For IMMEDIATE Release

Promoting Stability in Ethiopia and Eritrea
Smithís Thursday Hearing to Examine Ethiopian-Eritrean Relations and Means to Promote Democracy and Human Rights in Region
 

BACKGROUND:  The Algiers Agreement of 2000, which the United States helped to secure, ended a two-year conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea.  During this conflict, from 1998-2000, an estimated 100,000 people were killed, and more than a million civilians were displaced from their homes.  The Agreement established a neutral Boundary Commission to rule over the disputed borders of the countries.  In 2003, after the Commission ruled the disputed village of Badme was part of Eritrea, Ethiopia formally rejected the Commissionís decision.  Since that time, tensions have escalated in the region.  Ethiopia proposed a peace initiative in November 2004, which would reverse its earlier rejection of the Commissionís ruling; Eritrea, however, will not accept the peace plan, and both countries are locked in a stalemate.  While the international community has repeatedly encouraged Ethiopia and Eritrea to accept the Commissionís ruling, progress has yet to be seen.  Currently, there is no fighting in the region, but it is unclear how long the stalemate over Badme can continue before tensions reach the breaking point.  In addition to the border dispute, concerns remain over reports of religious persecution in Eritrea and human rights violations in Ethiopia.  The United States is committed to peace in the region, and Thursdayís hearing will examine the means of achieving a lasting stability for Eritrea and Ethiopia. 

WHAT:                              Subcommittee Oversight Hearing: 
                                           Ethiopia and Eritrea:  Promoting Stability, Democracy and Human Rights

                                         
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations,
                                          U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Chairman

WHEN:                             2:00 p.m., Thursday, May 5, 2005

WHERE:                           Room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES:                   Panel I:  
                                          Don Yamamoto,
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State;
                                         
Panel II
                                          David Shinn
, Adjunct Professor, Elliot School for International Affairs, George Washington University;
                                          Michael Clough
, Advocacy Director Africa (Interim), Human Rights Watch; and
                                          Dave Peterson
, Africa Director, National Endowment for Democracy.

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