According to countryaah, Eritrea made no effort during the year to clean itself of the stamp as one of the world’s pari states with few, if any, friends. In January, the UN Security Council gave the country five weeks to withdraw soldiers from a disputed area against the border with Djibouti, where clashes took place in June 2008. However, Eritrea did not heed the call, and in September Djibouti again appealed to the Security Council to intervene. to resolve the conflict. In December, the Security Council punished Eritrea for the regime’s support for Islamist rebel groups in Somalia. The sanctions included arms embargo, a travel ban for a number of senior executives and frozen bank accounts. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for abbreviation ER which stands for the nation of Eritrea.
The initiative for the resolution was taken by the African Union (AU), which for the first time advocated international intervention against a member country. Eritrea denied support for the Islamists and canceled their membership in the AU. However, Eritrea agreed to pay $ 10 million to Ethiopia as compensation for damages sustained by the neighboring country during the 1998-2000 war. The Ethiopian reaction was that the damages could not compensate Eritrea’s support for Ethiopian separatist groups and Somali Islamists.
The United States-based human rights organization Human Rights Watch described the country as a gigantic prison, where people are arrested for no apparent reason and where military service has been extended indefinitely. Those summoned are not notified when they are allowed to return to civilian life. The Swedish journalist Dawit Isaak, who along with a number of colleagues were arrested in 2001 for regime-critical newspaper articles, remained imprisoned. President Isaias Afwerki said in a Swedish TV interview that there were no plans to release him.
HUMAN AND ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
East African state. According to a United Nations estimate, in mid- 2005 the Eritrea it had a population of 4,561,600 residents, 19.5 % urban (a very low percentage even compared to the African average). The border conflicts that arose between Ethiopia and Eritrea between 1998 and 2000 (and again in 2006 not completely smoothed out) have had serious repercussions not only on the economy of this country, already very poor in itself, but also on the distribution of the population: in fact, about one million people, who lived along the Ethiopian border, the most fertile region Eritrea, were forced to abandon their lands and find refuge in camps set up within the country or in Sudan. The only city, both in terms of functions and demographic consistency, is the capital Asmara; another important center, especially for its port functions, is Massawa.
The Eritrean economy continues to be dependent on agriculture, whose products are cereals and legumes, destined for internal consumption, cotton and coffee, aimed at export. Due to difficult climatic conditions, frequent calamities and war, food production is no longer able to cover its internal needs and the country is forced to resort to international aid. The countryside also suffered from a lack of manpower, and landmines scattered throughout the conflict with Ethiopia hampered the return of farmers to their lands. The government has initiated projects for the exploration of the subsoil and the presence of oil, natural gas, zinc, magnesium, iron and gold has been ascertained. Manufacturing activities were affected by the conflict with Ethiopia; the few plants are obsolete and the growth of the sector is hampered by the shortage of energy and its cost on international markets. Despite the difficulties, GDP in2003 had returned to growth (+ 5 % according to the International Monetary Fund) and inflation had dropped to 10 % (2004).