Ethiopia: Peace Agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea signed on 12 December 2000 in Algiers including terms, amnesty for deserters/evaders and or objectors to military service during the war (1998-2000), and for ethnic Eritreans detained and/or deported from Ethiopia

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 16 February 2001
Citation / Document Symbol ert36326.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ethiopia: Peace Agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea signed on 12 December 2000 in Algiers including terms, amnesty for deserters/evaders and or objectors to military service during the war (1998-2000), and for ethnic Eritreans detained and/or deported from Ethiopia, 16 February 2001, ert36326.E, available at: [accessed 20 June 2019]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

An IRIN report described the signing of the peace agreement,

Eritrean President Isayas Afewerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi signed a comprehensive agreement in Algiers ... by signing the peace deal, the two leaders had ended their two-year border war. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, OAU Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Togolese President and OAU chairman Gnassingbe Eyadema, US Secretary of State Madeline Albright and US President Clinton's envoy, Anthony Lake, attended the signing ... Annan, Salim, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflike and an EU representative, Rino Serri, also signed the agreement as witnesses (13 Dec. 2000).

ARB lists the highlights of the peace agreement as follows:

Article 1: The parties shall permanently terminate hostilities between themselves. The parties shall respect and fully implement the provisions of the agreement on cessation of hostilities.

Article 2: The parties shall without delay, release and repatriate all prisoners of war, and also return all other detainees to their last place of residence. The parties shall afford humane treatment to each other's nationals within their respective territories.

Article 3: An investigation will be carried out by an independent impartial body to be set up by the OAU Secretary General, in consultations with the UN Secretary General, to determine the cause of the border conflict that started on May 6th 1998. The parties shall cooperate fully with the independent body which will submit its report to the OAU Secretary General.

Article 4: The parties will respect the borders existing at independence as stated in the OAU resolution AHG/Res 16 (1) adopted by the 1964 OAU Cairo summit. A neutral Boundary Commission composed of five members shall be established. The commission shall be located in The Hague, Netherlands. The parties shall appoint two commissioners within 45 days of signing this agreement, to serve on the Boundary Commission. The president of the Boundary Commission shall neither be a national nor a permanent resident of either country. Within 45 days of the agreement, each party shall provide claims and evidence relevant to the mandate of the Commission.

Article 5: Decisions and awards of the Commission shall be final and binding; and interest, costs and fees may be awarded (January 2001, 14215).

Both IRIN and ARB state that in spite of the agreement, both countries remain suspicious of each other (13 Dec. 2000; ARB Jan. 2001). Nonetheless, by the end of December 2000, 2,055 Ethiopian civilians had been repatriated from Eritrea under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and on 23 December, 1, 414 Eritrean civilians were repatriated (ARB Jan. 2001, 14215).

ARB further states that

A first batch of prisoners of war from both sides were repatriated on 24th [December 2000] and talks were underway for repatriation of a second batch. ICRC head delegate in Ethiopia, Alain Aeschlimann revealed that the ICRC had previously "visited and registered" a total of over 2,600 Eritrean POWs in Ethiopia and over 1,000 Eritreans in Ethiopia. A total of 2,881 Ethiopian and Eritrean prisoners of war were waiting to be repatriated to their respective countries (ibid.).

Under the terms of the Agreement, "the two sides were expected to settle on withdrawal plans by the end of December, creating a 25 km "temporary security zone" to the north of Ethiopia's positions of May 6th 1998, when fighting began, and allowing the deployment of 4,200 UN peacekeepers" (ibid., 14214).

According to PANA,

Ethiopia ... started pulling back its forces from Eritrean territory as a first step towards the establishment of the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) by the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UMMEE) ... Ethiopia would complete its troops withdrawal to the southern boundary of the TSZ by 26 February, to positions held prior to the eruption of the border conflict of 6 May 1998 ... Eritrea is expected to complete the rearrangement of its forces to the northern boundary of the TSZ by March, UNMEE said in a press release (13 Feb. 2001).

No reports on amnesty for deserters, evaders and/or objectors to military service during the 1998-2000 war could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please see below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Requests.


Africa Research Bulletin: Political, Social and Cultural Series [Oxford]. January 2001. "Eritrea: Ethiopia Peace Deal Signed."

IRIN. 13 December 2001. "Eritrea-Ethiopia: Peace Agreement Signed." [Accessed: 14 Feb. 2001].

Panafrican News Agency (PANA). 13 February 2001. [Accessed: 14 February 2001

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Confidential.

Keesing's Record of World Events.


Resource Centre. Country File. Eritrea.

Internet sites including,

All Africa News.

Amnesty International.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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