[dehai-news] (AP) UN says Eritrea disobeying in 'tense' border feud

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From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (eritrea.lave@comhem.se)
Date: Tue Mar 31 2009 - 09:10:20 EST

UN says Eritrea disobeying in 'tense' border feud
Associated Press

2009-03-31 04:58 AM
Eritrea shuns U.N. Security Council demands from two months ago that it
should pull back from the Djibouti border and rejects nearly all efforts
at diplomacy or mediation, U.N. officials reported Monday.
"The situation, although calm, remains tense," U.N. Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon said in a letter to the council's president. "We have no
information that Eritrea has complied."
The 15-nation council unanimously voted in January that Eritrea must
withdraw all forces and equipment within six weeks and engage in
diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute with its Horn of Africa
Uncertainty over the Djibouti-Eritrea border has already led to
hostilities twice in the 1990s in an important area overlooking key Red
Sea shipping and refueling lanes. More than 1,200 U.S troops are
stationed in Djibouti, which hosts the base for an anti-terrorism task
force in the Horn of Africa. France also has a base in Djibouti, its
former colony.
Ban said his office is keeping lines of communications open. But he
described the peace efforts as making little progress, despite talks
between his office and representatives of Eritrea and Djibouti and the
African Union.
Last June, the council condemned Eritrea for launching an attack against
the tiny port nation of Djibouti, a key U.S. ally in the war on
terrorism, which the U.S. said left 44 Djiboutian soldiers dead and many
more missing. The council had called for a cease-fire and urged the two
countries to withdraw their forces from the border.
Only Djibouti complied.
Ban noted that only a day after the council's Jan. 14 resolution,
Eritrea's foreign ministry called it "an ill-considered, unbalanced and
unnecessary resolution against Eritrea" and restated its previous claims
that it "has not occupied any land that belongs to Djibouti."
The ministry also accused the council of tolerating Ethiopian occupation
of the disputed border town of Badme and other territories claimed by
Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year
guerrilla war, and their border is also in dispute. A 2 1/2-year border
war in which at 70,000 people died ended in a 2000 peace agreement. The
Security Council authorized 1,700 troops to keep the peace.
But the council was forced last year to end the 8-year-long mission
after Eritrea limited troop movements, supply routes and diesel fuel and
Ethiopia refused to accept a commission's ruling in 2002 that awarded
Badme to Eritrea.


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