Peace pact ends war in Horn of Africa

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The Independent Online

After two years of trench warfare, tens of thousands of deaths and a fortune in military spending, a peace pact has been sealed in the Horn of Africa. The prime ministers of Ethiopia and Eritrea signed an agreement yesterday to end their bloody dispute over a strip of ill-defined border land.

After two years of trench warfare, tens of thousands of deaths and a fortune in military spending, a peace pact has been sealed in the Horn of Africa. The prime ministers of Ethiopia and Eritrea signed an agreement yesterday to end their bloody dispute over a strip of ill-defined border land.

The deal, signed in the Algerian capital, Algiers, was brokered by the Organisation of African Unity and the United States. The lines of the disputed border will now be decided by an international commission composed of representatives from both countries and an independent chairman.

About 4,200 United Nations troops, mostly Dutch and Canadian, will keep the peace along the former front line.

A skirmish in mid-1998 blew up into a full-scale war characterised by First World War-style trench combat. The fighting came to an end last June after a sweeping Ethiopian offensive drove Eritrean troops from all disputed areas along their 620-mile common border.

Neither side has disclosed casualty figures but US estimates put the number of war dead at between 50,000 and 100,000.

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