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Can The Horn of Africa’s Centre Hold?

Ethiopia is a key political and economic state in the Horn of Africa, which is also home to Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. It has been involved in two conflicts with its neighbours in the past 50 years – Somalia in the south-east and Eritrea in the north. In 1977 the Somali state, then ruled by Siad Barre, invaded Ethiopia in a bid to take back territory it claimed. The invasion was largely aided by Somalis in Ethiopia. Ethiopia emerged victorious with Cuban and Soviet assistance. The current Somali state is in a decidedly weak position and poses no immediate threat to Ethiopia. The same cannot be said of Eritrea. It has not recovered from the outcome of the 1998-2000 war. Since the ceasefire in 2000 the threat of war has lingered between Ethiopia and Eritrea because neither country felt satisfied with the recommendations of the border commission that was appointed to settle the dispute.