Foreign relations of Ethiopia

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This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Ethiopia

Like many states in sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopia was relatively isolated from other countries not immediately adjacent to it, until well into the 19th century. Many historians trace modern Ethiopian foreign policy to the reign of Emperor Tewodros II, whose primary concerns were the security of Ethiopia's traditional borders, obtaining technology from Europe (or modernization), and to a lesser degree Ethiopian rights to the monastery of Dar-es-Sultan in the city of Jerusalem.[1] Tewodros' diplomatic efforts, however, ended disastrously with the British expedition of 1868 which concluded with his death. Despite the efforts of his successor Emperor Yohannes IV to establish a relationship with the United Kingdom, Ethiopia was ignored by the world powers until the opening of the Suez Canal, and more important, the Mahdist War, drew outside attention to her once more.[2]

The same major interests that Tewodros had—the security of Ethiopia's traditional borders and modernization—were once again foremost, as demonstrated by the outcome of the First Italo–Ethiopian War, Ethiopia's admission to the League of Nations (28 September 1923), and the 1935 Second Italo-Abyssinian War. Following the decisive Ethiopian victory at Adwa, Menelik II rapidly negotiated a series of treaties fixing Ethiopia's boundaries—with French Somaliland in March 1897, British Somaliland a few months later in June 1897, with Italian Eritrea in 1900, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan in 1902, British East Africa in 1907, and Italian Somaliland in 1908—which simplified this problem on one level. Although Emperor Haile Selassie agreed to an agreement with the British government to help him restore order to Ethiopia, which benefited him in crushing the Woyane Rebellion, he patiently worked to its eventual termination. Since World War II, Ethiopia has played an active role in world and African affairs. Ethiopia was a charter member of the United Nations and took part in UN operations in Korea in 1951 and the Congo in 1960. Former Emperor Haile Selassie was a founder of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Addis Ababa is the host capital for the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the OAU.

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