September 01, 2007

Eritrea warns Ethiopia over border feud

ASMARA (AFP) — Eritrean President Issaias Afeworki has said arch-enemy Ethiopia must implement a border ruling or risk sparking a "new crisis", state-media reported Saturday.

Issaias' comments come as a UN-appointed border commission, due to close in two months, attempts to broker a last-ditch deal between the two sides, still at odds following their bloody 1998-2000 border war.

"Provided the implementation of the ruling is carried out in its legality, there would be no issue for new crisis between the two countries," Issaias said, according to a statement in the government's Eritrea Profile newspaper.

The independent Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) will dissolve in November, and the frontier will be fixed on maps if no progress is made.

Both sides are due to attend an EEBC meeting on September 6 in The Hague but have expressed doubts about the seriousness of eachother's intentions.

The EEBC has repeatedly expressed its frustration at hardline stances on both sides that have prevented the physical marking of the border.

Eritrea has often complained that the international community -- especially the United States -- has not done enough to make Ethiopia accept the new border and has steadily ratcheted up rhetoric and pressure to push its point.

"The implementation of the ruling has been hindered for the past five years due to non-compliance of the TPLF (Ethiopian) regime and those who prop it up," the newspaper quoted Issaias as saying.

Ethiopia has called for a revision of the 2002 ruling that awarded the flashpoint town of Badme to Eritrea, arguing that it will split families and villages between the two countries.

But Eritrea has repeatedly rejected the call.

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