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Monday, October 12, 1998 Published at 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK


World

Yemen and Eritrea to share Red Sea islands

Court decided to share out the islands

An international arbitration panel has ruled in the dispute between Yemen and Eritrea over the disputed Hanish islands in the Red Sea.

The official judgement is not due to be released until Monday, but the Eritrean president's office has acknowledged that the two largest islands - Greater and Lesser Hanish - have been awarded to Yemen.

However, it says Eritrea has been given control over the rest of the archipelago.

Yemeni television interrupted its scheduled broadcasts to announce that the prime minister, Abdulkarim Iryani, had congratulated the president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, on the panel's ruling.

Conflict over islands

In 1995, Yemen and Eritrea were involved in serious clashes over the islands, which are in one of the world's major shipping lanes.

Eritrea and Yemen agreed to take the issue to a panel of international arbitrators two years ago.

Both countries are obliged to stand by their decision.

The decision was reached on Friday at the permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, but the delay releasing the details is intended to allow both Yemen and Eritrea time to study the text.





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