Eritrea and Ethiopia refuse to comply U.N. resolution to ease tensions over border

Ethiopia and Eritrea have failed to comply with a U.N. Security Council resolution to ease tensions over their disputed border, a senior U.N. official said Friday. A Nov. 23 Security Council resolution gave both countries 30 days within which Ethiopia should have began work to demarcate its border after a decision by an independent commission; Eritrea lifting restrictions on the U.N. Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea; and both countries pulling back troops on the border to their December 2004 levels.

Ethiopia has not taken steps to begin demarcation of its contested boundary while neighboring Eritrea has not lifted three-month old restrictions on U.N. peacekeepers, two requirements of the Security Council Nov. 23 resolution, said Azouz Ennifar, a deputy head of the U.N Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Failure to meet these requirements means the two countries could face the threat of United Nations sanctions, something the Security Council will deliberate on next month, Ennifar.

"The deadline for compliance with the whole Security Council resolution is today," Ennifar said. "We have not seen any change on demarcation and until now no change on the restrictions." Ethiopia, however, pulled back a "significant number of troops" while Eritrea has said that its troops near the border are harvesting crops, Ennifar said. He said they are seeking further clarification on the Eritrean troops.

The U.N. mission has 10 days to report on Ethiopia's and Eritrea's compliance to Secretary-General Kofi Annan before the Security Council's January meeting. The United Nations established the mission after a 2 1/2-year border war between the Horn of Africa neighbors. A December 2000 peace agreement provided for an independent commission to rule on the position of the disputed 621-mile (1,000-kilometer) border, while U.N. troops patrolled a 15-mile (24-kilometer) buffer zone between the two countries. Ethiopia has refused to implement the international commission's April 2002 ruling, which awarded the key town of Badme to Eritrea, reports the AP. N.U.

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