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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UN inaction vs. Ethiopia’s defiance of border ruling dangerous

 

ASMARA, July 19, 2004 (Reuters) - Eritrea's president has said continuing deadlock with former foe Ethiopia over their disputed border is becoming "very dangerous", and Asmara will not now engage with a U.N. envoy appointed to resolve the stalemate.

 

"At the moment the issue is going in a very dangerous direction," President Isayas Afewerki said in an interview with state radio and television broadcast on Sunday night.

 

Eritrea has regularly called on the outside world to press its bigger Horn of Africa neighbour, a U.S. ally in the war on terror, into accepting a ruling by independent experts in 2002 about where their common border should lie.

 

Isayas said the international community had contributed to the current stalemate by its weakness and there was now no question of Eritrea dealing with the U.N. envoy appointed seven months ago.

 

"If we ask why the border decision has not been implemented in the past two years, it is just because of the weakness of the international community," he said

 

Eritrea and Ethiopia went to war between 1998 and 2000 in a dispute over the small Ethiopian-run border town of Badme. An agreement signed in Algiers in 2000 ended the conflict, in which more than 70,000 people were killed.

 

But demarcation of the disputed border has been indefinitely postponed since Ethiopia rejected a ruling by an independent boundary commission that said Badme was part of Eritrea. Under peace accords both sides had agreed that the commission's ruling would be binding.

 

"The past two years have proved something," Isayas said.

 

"While our land was still occupied, we have been working hard to take all the necessary steps respecting the superiority of the rule of law. But it cannot be thought that this can go for an infinite time."

 

International efforts to achieve a breakthrough have focused on the mission of Lloyd Axworthy, a Canadian former foreign minister who was appointed U.N. envoy to the peace process in December 2003.

 

Ethiopian leaders have held talks with Axworthy but Eritrea for months refused to meet him.

 

Last month Eritrea said it would send an official to hold an exploratory meeting with Axworthy. But Isayas, apparently eliminating that possibility, said Axworthy's mission was now "dead" and the issue "closed" as far as he was concerned.

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