[dehai-news] (AFP) UN orders Eritrea to withdraw from disputed Djibouti border


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From: Biniam Tekle (biniamt@dehai.org)
Date: Wed Jan 14 2009 - 12:31:53 EST


UN orders Eritrea to withdraw from disputed Djibouti border

January 14, 2008 - 1 hour ago

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) The UN Security Council on Wednesday gave Eritrea
five weeks to withdraw its forces from a contested area along its border
with Djibouti and demanded that it start talks with its neighbor for a
mutually acceptable settlement of the dispute.

The 15-member body unanimously adopted a resolution demanding that Eritrea
"withdraw its forces and all their equipment to the positions of the status
quo ante, and ensure that no military presence or activity is being pursued
in the area where the conflict occurred in Ras Doumeira and Doumeira island"
last June.

Resolution 1862 also enjoined Asmara to "acknowledge its border dispute in
Ras Doumeira and Doumeira Island, engage in dialogue to defuse the tension
and engage also in diplomatic efforts leading to a mutually acceptable
settlement of the border issue."

The resolution, drafted by France, demanded that Eritrea "comply
immediately" with its demands and "in any case, no later than five weeks
after the adoption of this resolution."

It welcomed the fact that Djibouti withdrew its forces from the disputed
areas as requested by the council last June and condemns Asmara's refusal to
do so.

The council said it would review the situation six weeks from the adoption
of this resolution on the basis of a report "on the compliance by both
parties with their obligations" to be submitted by UN chief Ban Ki-moon six
weeks from now.

Last October, the United States had warned Eritrea that it faced
"appropriate action" from the council if it refused to cooperate to resolve
its border dispute with Djibouti peacefully.

The long-running border row between Djibouti and Eritrea over the disputed
Ras Doumeira promontory on the shores of the Red Sea flared up last June
after previous clashes in 1996 and 1999.

The clashes have assumed a greater strategic significance because both
France and the United States have bases in Djibouti, a former French colony.

The United States has more than 1,200 troops stationed in Djibouti, which
hosts an anti-terrorism task force in the Horn of Africa.

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