*Eritrea,Ethiopia to attend Boundary Panel

* Khaliefa criticizes the Eritrean regime


Feb 28,2006(ADISS ABABA)-Hussien Khaliefa, Chairmanm of the Executive Office of the Eritrean Democratic Alliance, has  directed sharp criticisms into the Eritreran regime’s National called service progarm,in a statement which was distributed,yesyerday, to media outlets in Addis Ababa. “It is a prgram that aims at tearing down the entity of  the Eritrean people. It is a program  of genocide against the Eritrean people,”the statement pointed out.

The statement condemned the raiding operations  that had swept the Eritrean schools to conscript students of junior and high schools.The statement underlined that the policy of conscription for the students has caused the Eritrean youth forcefully  flee Eritrea  into the nieghbouring countries. “ The regime has also called on the demobilzed  soldiers to return into the army,” the statment noted.

The statement of Khaliefa, from which the GIC has got a copy, added that the Eritrean regime has put the Eritrean people under a coercieve conscription. “The Eritrean people facing dire economic situation due to the rise of  prices,”  the statement added.

The statement  of Khalirefa, which has  called on the Eritrean people to civic disobedience and protest against the irresponsible policies of the regime, has also condemned the escalation of the regime for the war language.

In other news, witnesses to the peace accord met in New York this week to adopt a statement urging both Ethiopia and Eritrea to accept the border ruling and end all restrictions on peacekeepers.

Attending Wednesday’s meeting, called by Washington, were officials of Algeria, Britain, the Congo Republic, the European Union, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Nations.

 In similar vein,the commission that drew the disputed boundary will also call both governments to London next month to try to head off a recurrence of the conflict, diplomats said on Friday.

If they agree to attend the meeting, the two Horn of Africa neighbours will be pressed to accept the boundary ruling and fully implement a 2000 peace agreement, the diplomats said after attending a Security Council briefing on the dispute.

A statement adopted unanimously by the 15-nation council called on both countries to attend the early March meeting of the Independent Boundary Commission and work with it “to implement its decisions without delay”.

During the council briefing, both US Ambassador John Bolton and UN envoy Legwaila Joseph Legwaila said they hoped a push from the commission would help end the crisis as they were running out of options, the diplomats said.

 They spoke on condition of anonymity because the briefing was held behind closed doors.

The 1998-2000 border war killed 70 000 people. The peace accord ending the conflict required both sides to agree in advance to accept the border as laid out by the panel.

But Ethiopia later rejected the new boundary, leading the commission to disband in 2003 without finishing its work.

A frustrated Eritrea then banned UN helicopter flights over its territory and imposed other restrictions on the peacekeeping mission helping implement the peace deal.

That triggered troop movements on both sides, increasing tensions along the border and leading to the current impasse.

Then in January, the United States asked the Security Council to let it try to resolve the dispute. The council agreed, giving it until March 10 to do so.

The peacekeeping mission’s current mandate expires on March 15, and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has laid out a series of options for revising it if the US initiative fails, including trimming, reconfiguring or ending it.

The main task of the mission’s 3, 300 troops is to monitor a 25-km buffer zone set up along the 1 000-km border to separate the two neighbours.

The goal of the US initiative and boundary commission meeting was “to elevate this issue beyond the Security Council,” Tanzanian UN Ambassador Augustine Mahiga said. “For the first time this issue is being taken up by other actors.”

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