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Eritrea Calls for UN to Respond After Ethiopian Attack

VOA News March 16, 2012

Eritrea is calling for the United Nations to impose penalties on arch-rival Ethiopia, after Ethiopian forces attacked a military base inside Eritrea.

In a statement Friday, Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh said the incursion is part of a history of "unlawful and provocative attacks" by Ethiopia. He urged the U.N. Security Council to take measures to "ensure justice and the respect of the rule of law."

Ethiopia government spokesman Shimeles Kemal said Thursday the attack was against two military posts that "subversive groups" used to carry out attacks in Ethiopia.

In an interview with VOA late Thursday, Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu said any subversive groups in Ethiopia are reacting to their own government's policies.

"The internal crisis inside Ethiopia, it is a result of its narrow and backward policy of divide and rule being conducted by the Ethiopian regime," he said.

The United States has urged both sides to exercise restraint. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington is seeking further clarification from Ethiopia about its intentions.

Ethiopia has repeatedly accused Eritrea of backing rebel groups that attack targets in Ethiopia's Afar area. Shimeles specifically mentioned an incident in January in which five European tourists were killed.

Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a war between 1998 and 2000 that killed an estimated 80,000 people. Tension between the countries has remained high ever since.

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