Home | News    Sunday 10 June 2007

Eritrea urges UN to take lead in border dispute with Ethiopia

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June 9, 2007 (NAIROBI) — Eritrean President Issaias Afeworki on Saturday asked the United Nations to take the lead role in resolving a border dispute with arch-rival Ethiopia as tensions simmer between the two nations.

Issaias made the remarks in a meeting with UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe in the capital Asmara, the information ministry said in a statement.

"The president indicated that Eritrea expects the United Nations to assume its responsibility regarding the implementation of the EEBCs (Eritrea Ethiopia Boundery Commission) final and binding ruling," said the statement.

Issaias "assured the UN envoy that Eritrea is ready to cooperate with such a constructive role," it said.

Last month, Issaias made a similar call to foreign nations, warning that the current situation could explode into war.

The two impoverished Horn of Africa neighbours fought a bitter territorial war between 1998 and 2000 and are still at odds over the border.

An independent boundary commission that was formed after the peace agreement awarded the flashpoint town of Badme to Eritrea, but it remains under Ethiopian control.

Ethiopia insists the ruling should be altered since it will split families and villages between the two countries.

Eritrea has repeatedly rejected calls for renegotiation of the 2000 border ruling and instead introduced restrictions including bans on air patrols and UN peacekeepers monitoring the buffer zone, blaming the UN Security Council for failing to press Addis Ababa to fully implement the peace deal.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned of the potential for a new outbreak in hostilities with Ethiopia, pointing to a worsening situation with heavy troop deployments in the border buffer zone.

In addition, the president said Eritrea was ready to work with the UN in the resolution of conflicts in Sudan’s western region of Darfur and Somalia. Eritrea faces accusations of backing rebels in the two conflict-torn nations.

(AFP)

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