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Sudan Tribune

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Eritrea accuses US of bias in Ethiopian border dispute

March 10, 2007 (ASMARA) — Eritrea accused the United States on Saturday of bias in the country’s border dispute with Ethiopia, saying Washington is propping up the Addis Ababa government in order to serve its own interests.

“For the past seven years the US government has been actively exacerbating the border conflict and engaged in other subversive activities in order to weaken Eritrea, and to prop up the TPLF (Ethiopian) regime to serve its regional designs,” Eritrea’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“In the past five years, since the border commission announced its award on 13 April 2002, the US administration has been concocting various obstacles to alter the final and binding award,” it added.

The ministry said Washington was to blame for Addis Ababa’s refusal to respect a 2002 ruling by an international border panel that awarded the flashpoint town of Badme to Eritrea, two years after a peace deal ended the conflict.

Ethiopia and Eritrea went to war between 1998 and 2000 over the border dispute.

Relations between Washington and Asmara have been frosty in recent months, but they sunk lower after Ethiopia, backed by the United States, drove out a powerful Islamist movement from central and southern Somalia late last year.

US officials, along with United Nations weapons experts, have accused Eritrea of supporting Somalia’s Islamists.

Eritrea denies the charges and in turn blames the US for instability in Somalia by backing warlords and Ethiopia, which is supporting the Somali government.

Early this month, the US scaled down operations at its embassy in Eritrea, halting all services for foreign nationals after Asmara demanded to inspect its diplomatic mail bags.