From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Sat Feb 14 2009 - 05:16:53 EST
Ethiopia welcomes Gaddafi intervention on Eritrea
Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:38am GMT
By Barry Malone
ADDIS ABABA, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Ethiopia supports new African Union (AU)
chairman Muammar Gaddafi's efforts to mediate between it and border rival
Eritrea and is open to peace talks, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said.
Relations between the feuding Horn of Africa neighbours have been at an
impasse since they fought a 1998-2000 border war in which at least 70,000
people were killed.
A peace agreement signed in Algiers in 2000 said both sides would have to
abide by an independent ruling over the 1,000-km (620-mile) frontier, but it
has never been implemented since Ethiopia initially rejected it. Both
nations keep troops near the border, and tensions are high.
"We very much welcome (Gaddafi's) offer to help us resolve our problem,"
Meles told reporters late on Friday. "The only way for us to do that is for
us to get together and iron out our issues."
Gaddafi, who was last week elected AU chairman in a closed-door decision
diplomats say was opposed by some African leaders, made a three-day trip to
Eritrea after the summit, hoping to help resolve the border crisis.
But Meles doubted whether Gaddafi could succeed in unravelling the
long-running issue, which is a source of tensions across the region.
"I am sure he will devote a lot of energy," he said, adding that he had
voted for the Libyan leader to become AU chairman. "But I believe (Eritrean
President Isaias Afwerki) is unlikely to change his colours."
C Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved
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