Ethiopia, Eritrea pressed to cooperate for resolving border dispute

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., European Union, African Union 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 that "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., European Union, African Union 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." Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year guerrilla war, but their 1,000-kilometer (621-mile) border was never settled, reports the AP.


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