- Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki has rejected mediation efforts to solve border dispute with neighbour Ethiopia. The two rivals have feuded over their border since Eritrea gained independence in 1993 after a 30-year guerrilla war. The border war between the two neighbours is estimated to have killed some 70,000 people.
The Eritrean state media reported the President as saying Ethiopia’s political and diplomatic campaigns to engage Eritrea in negotiations were wicked ploys designed to appease the Eritrean people and international community.
He further underlined that as long as the sovereign Eritrean territories remain under occupation, engaging in dialogue about any issue was totally illogical, the report on the government website said.
In 2002 the border decision gave the flashpoint town of Badme to Eritrea, about 1000-kilometers of frontier, but Ethiopia initially rejected the ruling rather opting for more talks with the Eritrean government and seeking international mediation.
The Eritrea-Ethiopia dispute is part of a set of regional tensions that extends into Somalia. Eritrea is also involved in a border dispute with Djibouti. The two sides clashed last year and tensions have remained high.
In mid-January, the United Nation Security Council gave Eritrea five weeks to withdraw its forces from the Red Sea coastal area of Ras Doumeira and Doumeira Island, but Asmara has rejected the call.
Ethiopia Prime Minister Meles Zenawi welcomed the move of the Libyan leader to arbitrate the conflict between Addis Ababa and Asmara, but doubted the move would be successful.
In November 2007, Ethiopia said it was ready to implement an agreement signed between the two countries in Algeria in 2000 that it had initially rejected but called for more negotiations. However Eritrea has persistently maintained that the border issue was a closed case once the boundary commission in 2002 passed a decision that awarded it the contested town.
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