ERITREA-ETHIOPIA: Eritrea warns of "explosive" situation

NAIROBI, 3 October 2003 (IRIN) - Eritrea has warned of an "explosive" situation in the peace process with Ethiopia and called for action from the international community.

In his address to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Eritrean Foreign Minister Ali Sayyid Abdallah accused Ethiopia of a "wholesale assault on the fundamental principles of international law".

He was referring to a letter sent last month by Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to the Security Council saying an independent Boundary Commission - set up to rule on the border between the two countries - was in "terminal crisis". Meles called for a new body to rule on contested areas of the border.

After their bitter two-year border war, both countries agreed to abide by the decision of the Commission which was established by the December 2000 Algiers peace agreement. But Ethiopia is unhappy over the ruling which puts Badme - flashpoint of the war - in Eritrea.

"The [peace] process can now be considered explosive, paving the way, as Ethiopian leaders seem to wish, to renewed conflict, with its attendant horrific consequences, unless the international community acts promptly and decisively," Ali Sayyid said.

Speaking a day earlier, his Ethiopian counterpart Seyoum Mesfin said the situation had reached a point "when the United Nations would have to take greater interest to ensure that the hopes of the Algiers agreement are fulfilled and the promises held up by that agreement are met".

"The Algiers agreements were designed to lead to durable peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea," he said. "It was not meant to punish the victim of aggression. That is why Ethiopia has felt it necessary to call on the Security Council to help us achieve the hopes contained in the Algiers agreement."

He added that Ethiopia was committed to peace and international law. "This is also how we intend to tackle the present complications in the implementation of the Algiers agreement," he told the General Assembly.

Theme (s): Conflict,


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