Ethiopia accuses Eritrea of instigating war
ADDIS ABABA, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Outgoing Ethiopian President Girma Wolde-Giorgise accused Eritrea on Monday of disregarding attempts to peacefully resolve a border impasse and putting the Horn of Africa neighbours on the path to war.
"Our government has persistently expressed its unwavering desire to engage in a relationship with Eritrea based on the principles of peace and non-interference," the president said in a speech to parliament.
"However, the incumbent government of Eritrea does not appear to be ready for peace and good neighbourliness."
After a 1998-2000 border war that killed 70,000 people, an independent commission ruled on their boundary in 2002.
But Ethiopia has called for new dialogue on that ruling, leading to an impasse many fear could spark new conflict. Addis Ababa says Eritrea is breaking the peace agreement by deploying troops in a U.N.-patrolled security zone.
Girma Wolde-Giorgise, whose six-year term expires this month, said Eritrea was training and deploying terrorists to destabilise Ethiopia, forcing Addis Ababa to take pre-emptive steps and make ready their defences.
"Instead of focusing on improving its own worsening domestic situation, (Eritrea) has consistently expressed its intention to instigate war with Ethiopia," he said.
Eritrea denies it supports armed groups inside Ethiopia, or that it is provoking a new conflict.
Asmara says Addis Ababa should accept the 2002 ruling, and accuses the international community of unfairly siding with Ethiopia for geo-political reasons.
Analysts and diplomats say neither country really wants to go to war, in spite of the inflammatory rhetoric on both sides. But they worry an unplanned skirmish could trigger conflict.