Home | News    Friday 29 October 2004

Ethiopian settlements in Badme: UN "aware of the situation"

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ASMARA, Oct 28 (AFP) — The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) is "aware of the situation" concerning possible new Ethiopian settlements in Badme, a town attributed by an independent commission to Eritrea, an UNMEE spokeswoman told AFP on Thursday.

Asked if she could confirm these new settlements and if they worried her, Gail Bindley-Taylor Sainte said "we are aware of the situation," but declined to make any further comment.

Several diplomats in Asmara who asked not to be named told AFP that Ethiopia was indeed installing its citizens in the contested border town.

As part of a peace process that followed the Horn of Africa neighbours’ 1998-2000 border war, a boundary commission attributed Badme to Eritrea, a ruling flatly rejected by Ethiopia, despite a commitment by both sides to accept the commission’s ruling as "final and binding."

Badme, the flashpoint of the war, remains under Ethiopian administration.

In March 2003, UN Security Council resolution 1466 called on both countries to "refrain from unilateral troop or population movements, including establishment of any new settlements in areas near the border until demarcation" was accomplished.

The row over Badme and other areas has prevented the process of physically demarcating border getting off the ground.

The Eritrean government said Thursday that the alleged new settlements showed that the "Ethiopian regime is obviously inviting another round of war", a claim in keeping with numerous hostile declarations emanating from Asmara and Addis Ababa.

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