From: Biniam Tekle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Apr 29 2011 - 08:53:12 EDT
Calls Ethiopia’s New Stance a ‘Declaration of War’
By William Davison - Apr 29, 2011 8:17 AM ET
Eritrea criticized Ethiopia’s new stance on relations between the two
countries as “pure aggression and a declaration of war” and denied it
Ethiopia’s government on April 15 announced it will increase support to
Eritrean rebels seeking to overthrow the government of President Isaias
Afewerki. The country will use “any means at its disposal” to bring about
regime change unless the Eritrean government changes its policies, the
Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said.
The two countries fought a 1998-2000 border war that killed 70,000 people,
according to Brussels-based International Crisis Group. Relations between
the two have remained tense as each backed opposing factions in nearby
Somalia’s civil war.
Skirmishes between Ethiopian and Eritrean troops occasionally break out
along their 912-kilometer (567-mile) border. Ethiopia previously accused
Eritrea of supporting Ethiopian rebels and al-Qaeda-linked insurgents in
“Eritrea does not have an agenda of destabilizing Ethiopia or the region,”
Girma Asmerom, Eritrea’s ambassador to the African Union, said to the
53-member continental bloc’s security panel on April 26.
Accusations of Eritrean support for terrorism are “fabricated and baseless,”
he said. “It is not in our psyche, our culture, our philosophy, our
upbringing, our value and our history to attack civilian targets, victimize
and terrorize innocent people.”
In February, Ethiopia said it foiled an attempt by the rebel Oromo
Liberation Front to bomb an AU summit in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.
Ethiopia accuses Eritrea of backing the front.
Eritrea’s “destabilization activities against other countries in the region,
including Ethiopia, continue unabated,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Eritrea has been under United Nations sanctions since December 2009 for its
alleged support of terrorists fighting to topple the Western-backed
government of Somalia. Eritrea’s Foreign Ministry says the sanctions are
The international community should condemn the aggression by the Ethiopian
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government and call for its withdrawal from
Eritrean territory, Girma said.
Isaias and Meles led allied rebel groups that overthrew Ethiopia’s Communist
Derg regime in 1991. Eritrea, formerly an Ethiopian province, won
independence after a 1993 referendum. A 2002 decision by a United Nations
commission that the disputed town of Badme is Eritrean has been rejected by
“Eritrea is ready to normalize relations with Ethiopia” if Ethiopia vacates
its territory, Girma said.
To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa via
Nairobi at email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson in Nairobi
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