There is no dispute in the Horn
  
Presse Release
SC/8023
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MISSION IN ERITREA, ETHIOPIA UNTIL 15 SEPTEMBER UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1531 (2004) 12 Mar 20
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Ethiopia wants "adjustments" on Eritrean border

NAIROBI, December 6, 2004 (Reuters) - Ethiopia said on Monday it would seek minor adjustments "on the ground" when its border with former foe Eritrea is demarcated, saying such changes would avert future tension with its small neighbour.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, speaking during a visit to Kenya, appeared to reinforce a suggestion he made on Friday that the border's most contentious areas could be subject to negotiation. The international community says that goes against promises both countries made to accept an independent commission's border ruling in its entirety.

Western powers are anxious to stave off further border conflict between the two Horn of Africa countries, whose 1998-2000 war over the frontier killed an estimated 70,000 people.

"We suggest that we accept the boundary commission decision even if we feel it is wrong and illegal," Meles told a news conference.

"We accept it and move towards implementation. When we implement it, we feel we can make minor adjustments on the ground so that we do not create points of friction at some stage in the future."

He did not say whether it was the border line itself that Ethiopia wanted to adjust or such things as roads or power lines, which might be affected by a demarcation.

Ethiopia agreed last month to accept in principle the boundary suggested by an independent commission in 2002, which it had previously rejected, but said it wanted "dialogue" with Asmara on how to implement the ruling in the estimated 15 percent of the 1,000-km (600-mile) border that is contentious.

Eritrea, which agreed to the ruling soon after it was published, has repeatedly said there is no point in dialogue and the ruling has to be implemented in full.

UN peacekeepers patrol a 25-km (15-mile)-wide buffer zone between Eritrean and Ethiopian territory.

Eritrea says Meles's proposals for dialogue and other ideas about how to normalise relations are "hollow".

Meles was adamant it was now up to Eritrea to seize the initiative. "I have put on the table a set of proposals and how we proceed from here depends on how our brothers in Eritrea would want us to proceed," he said.

"They think the proposals are hollow. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and we respect that, but it is not an opinion shared by others, including the EU, China Japan and others.

"We hope their (Eritrea's) opinion does not preclude any further thinking on this issue."

 

 
  
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