BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Africa  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Friday, 15 November, 2002, 13:09 GMT
Eritrea offers its ports to Ethiopia
Hungry villagers in Ethiopia (pic: WFP)
A humanitarian crisis is looming in Ethiopia

The massive drought which has hit the Horn of Africa has left as many as 14 million people in need of assistance in Ethiopia and 1.4 million in Eritrea.

One potential problem facing landlocked Ethiopia is its reliance on the port of Djibouti for the delivery of food aid.


[Eritrea] has no desire to penalise destitute populations in Ethiopia for the wrongs done by their government

Eritrean foreign ministry
But now Ethiopia's old foe, Eritrea, which has also been hit by the drought, has offered the use of its two Red Sea ports to help in the humanitarian relief effort.

The offer comes despite hostile relations between the two countries' governments, the legacy of a bloody two-year border war, which began in 1998.

In a foreign ministry statement, the Eritrean Government said it was conscious of its obligations in the face of the huge humanitarian crisis, though it added in a barbed comment that the Ethiopian people should not be punished for the wrongdoings of the government.

Eritrea itself is also suffering from the worst drought to hit the country since the mid-1980s and has appealed for emergency assistance to feed 1.4 million people, roughly half the population, affected by the drought alone.

Eritrea's two ports of Masawa and Assab were the main ports used by Ethiopia until the war broke out in 1998.

Boycott

There are good roads from the ports both to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, and northern Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has refused to lift its boycott of Eritrean facilities despite the peace agreement reached in 2000, and instead uses the port of Djibouti.

The port of Assab in the south of Eritrea was used almost exclusively by Ethiopia.

Since the war, the port has been idle.

Obviously, there would be benefits to Eritrea if the port was used to deliver food aid.

During the war, a similar offer was made by Eritrea when Ethiopia was again facing drought, but that was rejected by Ethiopia as a publicity stunt.


Key stories

Horn of Africa

Southern Africa

West Africa

Ways to help

CLICKABLE MAP

IN DEPTH

TALKING POINT
See also:

14 Oct 02 | Africa
06 Mar 02 | Africa
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes