World

Ethiopia, Eritrea end brutal border war

Ethiopia and Eritrea officially ended a bloody two-year border war by signing a peace agreement Tuesday.

The deal came after months of diplomatic pressure and international intervention. But the intense interest from the United Nations, Organization of African Unity (OAU), and the United States does not guarantee the peace will hold.

Tens of thousands of soldiers have been killed in brutal fighting during the two-year war. The clashes have forced thousands more from their homes.

The bloody conflict began in May 1998 when Eritrea, with a population of three million, invaded territory claimed by Ethiopia which is home to 60 million people.

Located on the Horn of Africa, both countries are plagued by famine and drought and are among the world's poorest countries.

The peace agreement, drafted by the OAU, set up commissions to clearly mark the border between the two countries, swap prisoners, return displaced people and hear claims for compensation for war damage.

The president of Eritrea and the prime minister of Ethiopia shook hands after signing the deal in Algiers, Algeria.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright witnessed the signing.

About 4,200 peacekeepers, including some Canadians, will monitor the shift to peace. No timetable has been set for the peace process.

now