Eritrea,Ethiopia Swap Charges over Tense Border Row


Feb 11,2006(KHARTOUM)-Eritrea and Ethiopia traded news charges over their increasingly tense border as Ethiopian Prime Minister Melese Zenawee accused his rival of arogant war-mongering nd Asmara hit back.

As  the United Nations reported that the sitaution on the bnorder remained “rense” and that five [people had been injured in a land mine blast near the frontier in Eritrea, Merles fireda  verbal assualt  on the  Eritrean government.

“The main reason and source of the border conflict….. is the arrogant   and war-monmgering  invader.tht is the Eritrean regime,”he said in spech to the Ethiopian parliament.

He balmed the current stalmate on Eritrea, which has wraned new war is looming because Eritrea has refused to accept a direct peace dialogue with Ethiopia.Meles criticized Asmara for keepiong the stance it held before the start of the war by insisting it has the right to take by force territory  it considers its own.

“Even now it is taking the same line by stating it has the right to take what it claims is occupied lanmd by force,”he said,noting that international panel in December had blamed Eritrea for starting the  war.

“This ,which si the same as at the beginning of the  war is, as , as the claims comission clearly pointed out, the stance of the invader,” he added. “ This is the real source of the problem.”

 In other development, the Libyan-sponsored peace talk’s between Khartoum and eastern Sudan rebels faced further delays on Thursday after the two sides disagreed over Eritrea’s participation.

“We insist on demanding an Eritrean participation because, from the start, Eritrea took up the initiative of co-sponsoring the mediation with Libya,” said Eastern Front deputy leader Amna Dhirar.

Talks between Khartoum and the Eastern Front, which comprises eastern Sudan’s two main rebel groups, the Beja Congress and the Free Lions, have been repeatedly delayed since November, most recently on Tuesday.

Eritrea “has an intimate knowledge of the Sudanese people and tribes and the Sudanese circumstances and, for this reason, we believe it will be instrumental in brokering peace between the two Sudanese parties,” said Dhirar.

“The negotiations will not be held if Eritrea is not allowed to take part.”Like their rebel counterparts in Sudan’s troubled western Darfur, the Eastern Front complains their region, which neighbours Eritrea, is marginalized by the government in Khartoum.

Eastern rebels have fought Khartoum sporadically for more than 10 years, with Eritrea giving “political and moral” support to the rebels while denying involvement in military aid.

“Relations between Khartoum and Asmara have not reached a level (of improvement) at which Eritrea can mediate in Sudanese internal issues,” said a spokesman for the ruling National Congress Party, Kamal al-Obeid.

“The government has clearly informed the Libyan mediator that it does not accept any form of Eritrean participation in the negotiations,” he said

The Front was founded by the Beja Congress and the Free Lions last year and launched its first combined offensive against Sudanese government positions in Red Sea state in June.

The fighting raised fears that conflict in the east could hurt peace efforts in the western Darfur region as well as jeopardize a January 2005 peace pact that ended Sudan’s long-running north-south civil war.

In October, Eritrea and Sudan announced an end to “more than 10 years of estrangement,” and this led to a series of high-level exchanges of visits by senior officials.

 In related news, The Eritrean Democratic Party stated, in the press release it issued on last Thursday,   that it had received, with a deep grief, the report of the UN Panel of experts.  The press release said that the report claimed that the Government of Eritrea has provided, and probably continues to provide, arms, logistical support, military training and political support to both Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA).

Training of JEM and SLA, the press release pointed out, has reportedly occurred at a number of camps in Eritrea on the Eritrean-Sudan border.

However, it is not a new phenomenon for the people of Eritrea and Eritrean Democratic Party that the regime has hosted and providing military training and support to rebels in the region since 1994, the press release added. However, it is good that the international community, the press release went on, has started to give attention to that the regime is playing a negative role in the political development of the region against the will of the Eritrean people.

The report by the UN panel shows additionally, the press release added, that the regime in Eritrea is a destabilizing factor in the region. The international community should call on the regime to refrain from providing military support to rebels and find a comprehensive peaceful solution to the crisis in Darfur, out lined the press release.

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