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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-314794 Eritrea / Ethiopia (L)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=4/5/2004

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=ERITREA / ETHIOPIA (L-ONLY)

NUMBER=2-

BYLINE=RAYMOND THIBODEAUX

DATELINE=NAIROBI

INTRO: A high-level European delegation is meeting leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia this week to try to break a deadlock over their border dispute. During a stop in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, on Monday, the E-U delegation urged Eritrea to accept U-N mediation. Raymond Thibodeaux filed this report from Nairobi.

TEXT: Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen leads the European delegation traveling to Asmara and Addis Ababa this week. The diplomatic mission aims to revive the foundering peace deal that ended a two-year border war between the two Horn of Africa nations.

The war, which ended four years ago, is showing signs of another flare-up.

Last year, Ethiopia rejected a ruling by an international boundary commission that Badme, a dusty border town claimed by both countries, belonged to Eritrea.

In response, Eritrean officials called for U-N sanctions against Ethiopia and refused to talk to a Canadian diplomat appointed to act as a mediator.

Yemane Gebremeskel is a spokesman for Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki.

/ / / GEBREMESKEL ACT / / /

There are vocal groups that do not accept the peace process. But if you look into their documents, they (Ethiopians) do not accept Eritrean independence. So these are people who are going against the current of history, who are nostalgic about the old days who really want to reverse Eritrean independence and whose views should not be acceptable to Eritrea, Ethiopia or the international community.

/ / / END ACT / / /

The director of the U-N mission In Ethiopia and Eritrea, Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, says he is ready to wrap up his work.

/ / / LEGWAILA ACT / / /

Insofar as the peacekeeping mission is concerned, we have performed brilliantly. We have kept the two sides apart. We monitored the temporary zone. We have kept the peace and we have created conditions conducive to the demarcation of the border. All that needs to be done is for the actual work of demarcating the border to take

place.

/ / / END ACT / / /

Contractors say they could mark the border with cement pillars within nine months. But, for now, neither country seems prepared to make the concessions that would give the boundary commission its go-ahead. (Signed).

NEB/RT/MWD/MAR/KBK



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