Britain reiterates Boundary Commissionís decision final and binding
ADDIS ABABA, July 12, 2004 -- Reassuring Ethiopia and
Eritrea of the international community's readiness to work with the two
countries to resolve their border dispute, Britain reiterated Monday that the
Boundary Commission's decision is final and binding.
In his remarks at the end of an official visit to Ethiopia,
Britain's Minister for Africa, Chris Mullin, said there was need for dialogue
between the two neighbouring countries, which have failed to normalise
relations since the end of a two-year war in 2000.
The independent Ethiopia/Eritrea Boundary Commission
announced its decision on 13 April 2002 but Ethiopia has not accepted some
parts of that decision. A stalemate that ensued has since stalled the border
"There is need for dialogue between the two countries
on all issues on which they disagree, in order to improve the bilateral
"This is mainly for the parties themselves but we, and
other members of the international community, including the United Nations and
witnesses to the Algiers agreement, are ready to work with both parties to help
them implement the Boundary Commission's decision," said Mullin.
On 12 December 2000 in Algiers, Algeria, the two parties
signed a comprehensive Peace Agreement so that lasting peace could be achieved.
They undertook to permanently terminate military hostilities and to refrain
from the threat or use of force against each other.
Under the terms of the agreement, a neutral Boundary
Commission was set up to delimit and demarcate the border.
The British minister emphasised that both parties should
work with UN Special Envoy Lloyd Axworthy "to build confidence and open
the channels of communication needed to resolve the present impasse."
Concerned about the lack of progress in the implementation
of the Algiers Agreement, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan early this year
appointed Axworthy, a former foreign minister from Canada, as his special envoy
for Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Eritrean authorities, however, have not met with the special
envoy due to their own reservations about his mandate and terms of reference. -