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UN slams Eritrea for raids on Djibouti

Latest update : 2008-06-13

The UN Security Council has condemned Eritrea for killing at least six soldiers during border raids against Djibouti. The attacks were carried out at Ras Doumeira, a strategic territory both countries claim as their own.

The UN Security Council on Thursday condemned Eritrea for recent borders raids against Djibouti that have killed at least six soldiers this week.
   
The Security Council "condemns Eritrea's military action against Djibouti in Ras Doumeira and Doumeira Island," read the declaration, adopted unanimously.
   
Ras Doumeira, in northern Djibouti, is a strategic promontory overlooking the Red Sea.
   
The Council "calls upon the parties to commit to a ceasefire and urges both parties, in particular Eritrea, to show maximum restraint and withdraw forces to the status quo ante," it said.
   
It also "urges both parties, in particular Eritrea, to cooperate and engage in diplomatic efforts to resolve the matter peacefully and in a manner consistent with international law."
   
The Council "encourages" UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "urgently to use his good offices ... in coordination with regional efforts, to facilitate bilateral discussions" in an attempt to decrease military forces along the border.
   
The statement was read out by the US ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad, president of the Security Council for the month of June.
   
The Council also welcomed efforts by the African Union and the Arab League to broker an accord, and called upon "the parties, in particular Eritrea, to engage fully in efforts to resolve the crisis."
   
US deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Alejandro Wolff earlier said that Eritrea has spurned efforts by the African Union, the Arab League, Qatar, and France to mediate the conflict.
   
"There is a pattern of irresponsible, destabilizing behavior by Eritrea in the past, their seizure of Djiboutian territory recently has in our view led to the buildup of arms," Wolff said.
   
The latest incident "that resulted in many many dead and wounded on the Djiboutian side was launched from the Eritrean side," Wolff said.
   
Clashes between troops in a disputed border region this week left six soldiers dead and 62 others wounded, Djibouti state RTD radio television reported Thursday.
   
Tension between the Horn of Africa countries has been high since April 16 when Eritrean troops raided Ras Doumeira, which both sides claim, as it pursued deserters.
   
The neighbors fought for control of the area in 1996 and 1999 and have never held talks to resolve the dispute. Tuesday's clashes were the first since April.
   
The United States has more than 1,200 troops stationed in Djibouti, which hosts an anti-terrorism task force in the Horn of Africa. France also has a base in its former colony.
   
Djibouti has accused Eritrean forces of digging trenches on both sides of the border on April 16, infringing several hundred meters (yards) into Djibouti territory. The Eritrean government has denied the accusation.
 

Date created : 2008-06-13

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