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Sudan Tribune

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Eritrea accuses UN of “silence” over border dispute with Ethiopia

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

September 29, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) – Eritrea’s Foreign Minister Osman Mohamed Saleh on Wednesday called for an end to what he termed as an “illegal occupation of sovereign territories” in the Horn of Africa as well as to the US meddling in the region.

Eritrea's Foreign Minister Osman Mohammed Saleh addresses the Millennium Development Goals Summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York, September 21, 2010. (Getty)
Eritrea’s Foreign Minister Osman Mohammed Saleh addresses the Millennium Development Goals Summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York, September 21, 2010. (Getty)
Saleh, who was speaking at the session of United Nations’ general Assembly in New York, accused the UN of “continuing to ignore’’ Ethiopia’s failure to comply with the ruling of the UN-Funded Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) which demarcated Eritrea-Ethiopia borders after their 1998-2000 war which killed nearly 70,000 people.

“While the United Nations grapples with Sudan and Somalia, it continues to ignore grave consequences of Ethiopia’s continued occupation of sovereign Eritrean territory, eight years after the ruling of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, and three years after the Commission ended its work by depositing in the United Nations the demarcated boundary between the two countries,” Osman Saleh said.

Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a three-year war over the disputed town of Badme. Both parties agreed to resolve the dispute by referring the case to the EEBC which in April 2002 established that the town belongs to Eritrea. However, Ethiopia flouted the ruling and is currently controlling the town.

Saleh said that Ethiopia’s rejection of the EEBC’s decision brought the process of demarcating the borders to a standstill in 2003.

“Ethiopia had tried to destabilize the situation through the use of aggression, supported by the United States, which had used its clout in the United Nations to forestall appropriate measures against Ethiopia through steps such as extending [the mandate] of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) in order to manage by crisis,” Saleh claimed.

He further said that “Ethiopia’s illegal occupation and the United Nations’ silence, which mean the continuation of the conflict, is exacting a heavy price on the peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia and complicating the regional situation.”

“I wish to remind the United Nations that Eritrea awaits responsible and urgent action to end Ethiopia’s violation of international law and its threat to regional peace and security,” Saleh said.

The Minister spoke at length about different zones of conflict around the world and pointed to the humanitarian suffering in Somalia and the lack of media attention to it.

(ST)