Ethiopia, Eritrea pressurized to conclude demarcation process


Feb 26, 2006 (KHARTOUM)-Arbiters should move to mark the Ethiopia-Eritrea border proposed four years ago, and both countries should stop blocking a resolution of their tense standoff, the U.N., the U.S. and others urged in a joint statement.

The U.S., U.N., the European Union, the AU and Algeria – the five parties who witnessed and guaranteed a truce Eritrea and Ethiopia signed in 2000 – said in the statement late Thursday that the Eritrea-Ethiopia border commission should convene a meeting with Eritrea and Ethiopia and work out technical details on marking the border.

They “strongly urge the parties to attend the meeting and to cooperate with and abide by all requirements specified by the commission in order to successfully conclude the demarcation process.”

The statement noted “both Ethiopia and Eritrea committed themselves to accepting the delimitation and demarcation determinations of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission as final and binding,” under the 2000 agreement that ended a 2 1/2-year border war. The border commission made its proposal in April, 2002.

The U.S., U.N., E.U., AU and Algeria pressed Ethiopia to accept the awarding of the disputed town of Badme and other territories to Eritrea. Ethiopia has refused to accept losing Badme, and a frustrated Eritrea has accused the international community of shirking its responsibility to ensure the border ruling is implemented.

Since October, Eritrea has restricted U.N. peacekeepers patrolling its border with Ethiopia by banning helicopter flights and movement of other vehicles at night.

Thursday’s statement called on Eritrea to lift those restrictions, saying the border cannot be demarcated unless the U.N. “is allowed full freedom of movement throughout its area of operations.”

In other developments, the Eritrean masses in Europe and USA have constrained the success of the Eritrean government’s missions in various areas of these two regions. The Eritrean government is merging some embassies; and planning to close about seven embassies in Europe including the Eritrean in Brussels, Belgium. Some sources have disclosed to GIC that the Eritrean government is considering limiting its embassies in Europe into London, Rome, Berlin, Stockholm and Hague. It is recalled that the Eritrean government has called about 8 ambassadors to come back Asmara along with other 19 diplomats.

Economic fiasco is, according to some observers, pushing the Eritrean government to pursue the track of reducing its embassies in Europe; a step which is expected to be applied in Africa and the Arab world.

 Despite the economic recession the Eritrean government is facing, however, it expends about $ 400,000 to disseminate Ethiopian opposition programs via its satellite TV, according to Eritrean opposition statistics; in addition to the huge amount of budget it channels to equip the Sudanese opposition.

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