Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Dr. Taye and Ato Kifle Urge Renewed Moves
Ehiomedia , November 22 , 2006
Ethiopian Demonstration In Brussels
At least Nine Eritrean Journalists Arrested In New Round-Up , November 22 , 2006
Three Eritrean Journalists Died In Prison Camp report on November 14 ,2006
By AFP , Middle East Times , November 22 , 2006

Eritrea Wednesday warned that the current stalemate over its tense border with Ethiopia was "not sustainable" and refused to rule out a new war against its arch-foe Horn of Africa neighbor. At the same time, Asmara repeated denials that Somalia had become a proxy battleground for it and Addis Ababa amid reports that the two countries are backing rival factions there to settle scores from their bloody 1998-2000 conflict.

Two days after Eritrea and Ethiopia both rejected plans by a UN-appointed border panel to demarcate their contentious frontier on paper, further raising tensions, a senior Eritrean official said that all options were on the table.

"Eritrea is a sovereign country and we cannot accept the reality of our territory being occupied by a foreign power indefinitely," said Yemane Gebremeskel, director of Eritrean President Issaias Afewerki's office.

"I don't want to speculate on what can happen, but I can only tell you this situation is not sustainable, it cannot be acceptable legally and there is no reason why it should stay this way," he told reporters in an interview in Asmara.

On Monday, the two nations boycotted a meeting of the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission in The Hague designed to gather comment about a proposal to delineate the border on maps without marking it on the ground.

Eritrea accepts the panel's ruling, which awarded it the flashpoint town of Badme, but wants it be physically laid out on the ground, while Ethiopia, which rejects the boundary, said that the commission was acting outside its mandate.

The commission's proposal appeared aimed at easing growing tension between the two countries that many fear could lead to a renewal of their war and spill over into Somalia, threatening a wider regional conflict.

The stalemate has left the status of the 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) border unclear six years after a peace deal and raised tensions, heightened by UN reports that both nations are militarily active in Somalia.

Yemane refused to say whether Eritrea, which has repeatedly denounced the international community for failing to press Ethiopia to accept the commission's binding ruling, would fight to take the territory in question.

But he repeatedly stressed that "all options" were open.

"As far as what our options are, I think these are options we can exercise at any point in time," Yemane said, declining to elaborate.

Yemane also denied charges by UN experts and diplomats that Eritrea is trying to exploit the situation in Somalia by arming a powerful Islamist movement that is girding for war with a weak government supported by Ethiopia.

"All these attempts to portray Somalia as a proxy battlefield between Ethiopia and Eritrea are misguided," he said. "There is no reason why we should go to Somalia to settle scores with Ethiopia."

Copyright (c) 2006 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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