State of Eritrea

Political Status: Former Italian colony; became part of UN-sponsored Ethiopian–Eritrean Federation in September 1952; annexed as a province of Ethiopia in November 1962; declared independent on May 24, 1993, following secessionist referendum of April 23–25; new constitution approved by the Constitutional Assembly on May 23, 1997, but largely unimplemented as of mid-2007.

Area: 46,774 sq. mi. (121,144 sq. km.).

Population: 2,748,304 (1984C); 4,614,000 (2006E), including nonresidents.

Major Urban Centers (2005E): ASMARA (554,000), Keren (89,000).

Principal Languages: Tigrigna and Arabic.

Monetary Unit: Nakfa (government rate of exchange as of November 2, 2007; 13.24 nakfa = $1US).

State President and Chair of the Executive Council of the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice: ISAIAS Afwerki; named secretary general of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front in 1987; named head of Provisional Government ...

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