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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
30 January 2006

ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: Eritrea criticises US over "bias" towards Ethiopia

NAIROBI, 30 Jan 2006 (IRIN) - Eritrea has criticised the United States for allegedly encouraging Ethiopia to disregard the international border commission ruling that delineated the boundary between the neighbouring countries following a 1998-2000 war over their disputed frontier.

A statement published by Eritrea's information ministry on Friday slammed the US for its alleged "evil attempts made to derail the verdict of the international body by creating different intriguing proposals [which] has encouraged the TPLF [Ethiopia's ruling party] regime to ignore and discard the decision of the Boundary Commission."

As part of the peace settlement that ended a bloody two-year war, both countries had agreed to abide by the commission's ruling on the disputed 1,000-km border.

Ethiopia, however, refused to implement the ruling, which awarded the key border town of Badme to Eritrea. It has called for renewed “dialogue’ over the issue.

Eritrea insists that Ethiopia should accept the 2002 border ruling and opposes any reopening of negotiations on the subject.

The Eritrean government did not say how exactly the US had attempted to derail the implementation of the ruling but condemned Washington's "misguided foreign policy which is designed to favor specific individuals and political groups at the expense of the will and aspirations of the general public."

A high-level US mediation team, lead by Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer, travelled to Ethiopia earlier this month in a bid to break the border stalemate, but the American delegation cancelled a planned visit to Eritrea because Asmara would not facilitate the trip.

Eritrea has been angered by the international community's failure to compel Ethiopia to obey the border commission's ruling. It has imposed a ban on United Nations helicopter flights over its territory, hampering the ability of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea to monitor the volatile border zone.



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