fakes acceptance as a ploy to renegotiate border ruling
ABABA, November 25, 2004 (AP) -- Prime
Minister Meles Zenawi told parliament Thursday that Ethiopia has decided to
accept "in principle" a disputed ruling on its border with Eritrea
made as part of peace deal four years ago.
had until now refused to respect the April 2002 ruling by the Eritrea-Ethiopia
Boundary Commission, part of the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The
still believes that the commission's finding was "illegal and unjust"
but has decided that peace is more important to the country, Meles told
government will start dialogue immediately with Eritrea "with a view to
implementing the decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission in a
manner consistent with the promotion of sustainable peace and brotherly ties
between the two peoples," Meles said.
said the dialogue will be part of a five-point plan Ethiopia wants to implement
so that it can concentrate on its priorities of "development and good
part of the plan, he said, Ethiopia will pay its costs of the boundary
commission - which it had refused to do until now - and allow commission staff
to carry out their work on the border to prepare for the implementation of the
prime minister said, however, that Ethiopia's acceptance of the commission's
decision did not mean it would cede any territory.
547-member parliament voted to endorse Meles' five-point plan by 428 votes to
10, with three abstentions. One hundred and six members were not in parliament
when the vote was taken.
and Eritrea fought a 2 1/2 year border war between May 1998 and December 2000
in which tens of thousands of people were killed.
part of a 2000 deal to end the war, Ethiopia and Eritrea agreed to form an
independent boundary commission and that its decision would be final and
accepted the April 2002 decision but Ethiopia said it disagreed with some
aspects, including the awarding of the disputed town of Badme to Eritrea.
signing a peace deal in 2000 in Algeria, Ethiopia and Eritrea have had little
contact with each other. In January U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed
a special envoy to try to get the two countries talking.
envoy, former Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy, has had no
success because Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki has refused to meet him,
arguing the commission's decision should be implemented before his country can
begin talks with Ethiopia.
has, however, met with Meles several times.
There is no “Acceptance in
Boundary ruling is final, binding, no appeal
Ø Fresh hope for Ethiopia, Eritrea peace
ETHIOPIA: Prime minister seeks
to end row with Eritrea
Nov 2004 (IRIN)
Ethiopia backs down over border BBC