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June 20, 2016

 

We, Eritrean Americans, are deeply grateful and supportive of the exceptional work done by the Commission of Inquiry Eritrea to determine the extent of human rights violations perpetrated against the Eritrean people by the totalitarian regime in Eritrea. We are particularly encouraged by the conclusion and recommendations made by the commission to have the International Criminal Court (ICC) involved in bringing the perpetrators of those heinous crimes to justice.

It must be recalled that the Eritrean people have never had their plight investigated and the perpetrators of those crimes brought to justice in a century of colonial occupation. None of those abusers have been investigated and tried in a court of law. We are now dealing with a quarter of century of brutal dictatorship by a totalitarian regime that is committing even more egregious violations of basic human right of the Eritrean people. It is long overdue to have the plight of the Eritrean people be brought to a court of law that is well equipped to render justice to the people.

We appeal to the UNCHR, the UN General Assembly, and the UN Security Council to heed the call of the COI-Eritrea to allow the ICC determine the extent and magnitude of the crimes against humanity being committed against the Eritrean people. The United Nations owes it to the Eritrean people to have their suffering heard in a court of law for the first time in their history and to put a stop to their ordeal under the most oppressive regime in the world today.

We thank the Commission of Inquiry for the diligent and objective documentation of the crimes that have been committed in the last quarter of century and are being committed today against the Eritrean people.

  1. San Francisco (Bay area) California.
  2. San Diego (California)
  3. Seattle (Washington)
  4. Chicago (Illinois)
  5. Indianapolis (Indiana)
  6. Denver (Colorado)
  7. Cincinnati (Ohio)
  8. Columbus (Ohio)
  9. Raleigh (North Carolina)
  10. Charlotte (South Carolina)
  11. Atlanta (Georgia)
  12. Boston (Massachusettes)
  13. Washington D.C.
  14. Buffalo (New York)
  15. Harrisburg (Pennsylvania)
  16. Philadelphia (Pennsylvania)

BAEDC SupportOfCOIE

 

Open Letter to the Commission of Enquiry on Eritrea,

 

In the spirit expressed by EFND and EGS (1), NEW (2), ENSF (3) and many others we, Bay Area Eritreans for Democratic Change, would also like to express our deepest gratitude for conclusions reached by the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea. Obviously, the criminal regime is on full offensive to discredit the Commission and its findings. It is, therefore, time for all justice seeking Eritreans to wake up and do all we can to make sure the regime does not cover up its crimes yet again. Predictably, the regime is trying to make this as if it is a judgment against the Eritrean people. Nothing can be further from the truth. The judgment is against the regime committing the crimes and only that. The Eritrean people are only victims and there is absolutely nothing in the Commission's findings that implicates the Eritrean people at all.

 

The regime has habitually and falsely positioned itself as a protector of the Eritrean people for many decades. It has even integrated Ginbot 7, the Ethiopian opposition group it has been financing for many years, into its campaign of vilification against the Commission. The regime is referring to the truth uncovered by the Commission as "disgusting". Through our active participation, we must expose and neutralize all the instruments of falsehood the regime has launched. The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea has done its job. As justice seekers, it is now time to do ours. 

 

We encourage our US sister cities and all justice loving civic, political, religious organizations to support the Commission's findings. Remember the Commission's verdict, contrary to the regime's well-financed and aggressive campaign, is in defense of the Eritrean people - the real victims.

 

Please make your voice heard. Encourage your family and friends to do the same. Write open letters in support of the Commission's findings to your social media circles as well as print and TV outlets. And send copies of your open and/or published letters to the Commission. Remember, eventually, the Commission's findings will probably identify less than 100 criminals. By holding these few criminals accountable, we stand to liberate the entire population of Eritrea from tyranny. Let's not be silent this time. 

 

Board of Directors

Bay Area Eritreans for Democratic Change

Northern California, United States of America

June 20, 2016

  1. (1)EFND & EGS Support the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea – Assenna.com June 16, 2016   http://assenna.com/eritreans-for-facilitating-national-dialogue-efnd-eritrean-global-solidarity-egs-our-unequivocal-support-for-the-united-natio/
  2. (2)Press Release by the Network of Eritrean Women (NEW) June 10, 2016 http://www.togoruba.org/togoruba1964/mainTogorubamap/mainMap/headingMap/2016/1006NEW6-06AE.pdf
  3. (3)ERITREAN NATIONAL SALVATION FRONT issued Commendation of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights Violations in Eritrea June 13, 2016   http://www.togoruba.org/togoruba1964/mainTogorubamap/mainMap/headingMap/2016/1506SF6-05SE.pdf

Photo: Bullet-riddled buildings and broken railway tracks testify to the heavy fighting seen by Massawa during Eritrea's struggle from independence from Ethiopia in 1990. Credit: UN Photo/Milton Grant.

Eritrea-Ethiopia: UN, AU, EU Can Avert War and Trigger Peace

Analysis by Reinhardt Jacobsen *

BRUSSELS (IDN) - While UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged both Ethiopia and Eritrea to exercise “maximum restraint and refrain from any act or statement that could exacerbate the situation”, reports gathered by IDN from several independent sources close to the border between the two countries and in Eritrea, underscore the grave risks the armed conflict between the two East African countries entails.

Diverse sources claim that border skirmishes are ongoing unabated and that “war logic” is gripping both sides – with Eritrean and Ethiopian leaders putting on their “war masks”.

Against this backdrop, President Isaias Afwerki is reported to have sent a letter to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika reminding of his government’s role as an intermediary of the Algiers Agreement of December 12, 2000. According to Tigrinya language newsgroup Medrek, Afwerki is also asking him to help lobby the international community on behalf of the Eritrean government.

Reports gathered by IDN do not rule out the possibility of a full-scale war unless the European Union and its counterpart, the African Union, join the United Nations in taking necessary steps to de-escalate the situation.

The saving grace, according to political observers, might turn out to be Ethiopia’s (uncontested) election on June 28 to the seat reserved for African states as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2017-18.

African Union Commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma urged in a statement on June 14 that the Horn of Africa nations should “refrain from any statement and action likely to aggravate the situation”.

The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, expressed deep concern over reports of border clashes between Ethiopia and Eritrea in the Tsorona border area. She called upon the two countries to exercise utmost restraint and to refrain from any statement and action likely to aggravate the situation and further endanger regional stability.

The AU Commission Chair underlined that the two countries can resolve their differences and lay the foundation for lasting peace between them only through the recourse to peaceful means. She noted with regret that 16 years after the signing, under the AU auspices, of the Algiers Peace Agreement, the peace process between Ethiopia and Eritrea remains stalled.

In this respect, and in line with the relevant pronouncements made by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government over the past years, she reiterated the AU's readiness to assist the parties address the challenges at hand and normalize their relations.

Meanwhile, discussions continue as to who fired the first shot in the ongoing border skirmishes. Several sources told IDN that it was Eritrea. These sources said that on June 11, a group of young refugees tried to cross the border to Ethiopia near the Tsorona area.

Eritrean military intelligence units tried to stop them by opening fire. Some of the young refugees were instantly killed, while most manged to escape and reached Ethiopian territory. The Eritrean military intelligence units in the area decided to chase them and started using heavier rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and mortars. Seeing that the Eritrean units were firing towards Ethiopian territory, Ethiopian military intelligence units in the area responded by firing back.

The skirmishes began at 12:45am and continued up to 3.45am on June 11. Most of the forces were local military intelligence units from both sides. Civilians in the area, who were displaced by the incident, and the militaries of both countries sustained heavy human losses.

Sources said this bout of skirmishes was a surprise to both governments. The only reason these occurred, they said, are the renewed and strict orders to shoot-and-kill all refugees trying to cross into Ethiopia. These shoot-to-kill orders coincided with the European Union’s financial deal with the Eritrean regime.

June 11-13 incidents which could have escalated into a full scale war are a direct result of the deal, sources said. The Eritrean government did not think that the war it had opened on its own youth would grow in to a bigger war, the sources added.

This fairly detailed account of how the clashes erupted between Eritrean Defence Forces and the Ethiopian army near Adi Mesgene, Akhran, Knin and Qnito in the early hours of Saturday, June 11, is confirmed in an article by the Tigrinya channel Medrek released on June 12.

IDN sources said the Eritrean government has for some time been notifying its forces that Ethiopia was planning to “invade” Eritrea. Analysts from inside Eritrea believe that both governments might try to exploit the recent report of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea (COIE) to re-ignite the conflict.

Although sudden clashes are very common on the Eritrean-Ethiopian border, recent skirmishes are the first of their kind that the Eritrean government has acknowledged in more than a decade.

The Eritrean group Arbi Harnet (Freedom Friday) also provided a reconstruction of events on the website Asmarino on June 18.

According to Freedom Friday activists in Asmara, residents of the capital continue to dismiss the recent exchanges of fire between Ethiopia and Eritrea as a mere attempt by the regime to distract attention from the UN report uncovering “crimes against humanity”, whilst reports from Eritreans in the border region highlight a worrying trend of civilian casualties.

Arbi Harnet activists, who have tried to establish the number of Eritrean casualties from June11-12 heavy fighting between Ethiopia and Eritrea, report that hospitals across the country have been receiving ‘casualties’ but it is difficult to ascertain the extent of the damage.

Activists said: Those who were wounded in the recent fighting on Tsorona front were taken to Dekemhare hospital, Halibet hospital [in Asmara] and Keren and Glass military hospital. However, efforts to ascertain numbers and identity of the casualties have not been successful due to a strict information embargo.

Meanwhile residents of Hazemo near the Tsorona front have reported that the Eritrean army heavily shelled Eritrean villages during the weekend of fighting. “Given that there is a 25 Km buffer zone, inside Eritrea incorporating many villages within this zone, it is likely that these villages might have been shelled from both sides increasing the likelihood of civilians being caught up in the crossfire.”

One Hazemo resident confirmed that “the Eritrean army frontline is located far from the border and there are many Eritrean villages and civilians between the front and the border, hence many houses were burnt and civilians killed and wounded”.

The Eritrean government has not rejected the details of how the shooting started. In a press release on June 17, the government stated:

”Eritrea is appalled by the statement of UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban-ki Moon, on the TPLF attack against Eritrea on the Tsorona Front. The facts of the matter are fully known to the Secretary General. In the circumstances, we find the statement that apportions equal blame to the victim and the aggressor and calls on ‘both sides to show restraint’ untenable.”

A more elaborate view from the perspective of the Eritrean government was reported by eritreadigest, which quoted President Esayas Afewerki as stating that “Ethiopia intends to use the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea (COIE), due to the Human Rights Council this month (June), as a pretext to wage war.”

The report added: “He went on to say that the entire plot is hatched in Washington, DC, which has given Ethiopia the green light to attack. We should defend our sovereignty by any means necessary, he said, and gave instructions to mobilize all able-bodied men.”

Another view is that Eritrea itself staged the clashes in the border region to divert attention from the findings of the UN Commission of Inquiry, and demands that Eritrea be put on trial before the International Criminal Court.

“The question of whether the shoot-to-kill policy of Eritrea against Eritrean citizens is still in place should be investigated. Should such reports turn out to be true,” said Prof. Mirjam van Reisen, a well-known expert on the Horn of Africa and founding director of EEPA – Europe External Policy Advisors, “these would reaffirm the callousness of the Eritrean regime, which has been accused of ‘crimes against humanity’ by the UN Commission.”

Van Reisen finds it unthinkable that the EU would not support the conclusion of COIE that the matter be referred to The Hague. After all, The Netherlands holds the current EU Presidency and is committed to defending the reputation of The Hague International City of Peace and Justice, also in its bid to be elected as non-permanent member in the UN Security Council. “This is the time to show this ambition.”

Van Reisen warned that any attempt to undermine the COIE “will damage the international order of justice and human rights and will undermine the authority of the international community”.

She said in order to protect peace at the border an international Observer Mission is required, backed up by a peace mission of the AU. “Stability in the region can only come if the International Border Demarcation Agreement is implemented – and this requires a round table to which both countries agree under international observation,” added van Reisen.

* Reinhardt Jacobsen is the group name of journalists who contributed to this analysis. [IDN-InDepthNews – 19 June 2016]

Source=http://www.indepthnews.net/index.php/the-world/africa/476-eritrea-ethiopia-un-au-eu-can-avert-war-and-trigger-peace

June 17, 2016

JERUSALEM (HAN) June 17.2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. The parents of an Eritrean man shot and killed at the scene of a terror attack in Beersheba after being mistaken for the terrorist are suing the state.

The parents of  Haftom Zarhum are asking for $3 million shekel, about $780,000, in damages for the October 2015 killing. The lawsuit includes the Israel Police, the bus station’s security company and the four indicted assailants.

The attacker at the Beersheba bus station, a Bedouin-Israeli, stabbed a soldier and grabbed his M-16 rifle, then opened fire.

Security guards shot Zarhum, who was then beaten by a mob as he was prone on the ground. Video images of the attack show Zarhum incapacitated and lying in a pool of his own blood being kicked by bystanders who thought he was an assailant.

An autopsy found that Zarhum had eight gunshot wounds, two of which were fatal.

The family is also calling on the National Insurance Agency to recognize Zarhum as a victim of terror, which would offer additional compensation to the family. The agency has said it would not recognize Zarhum because he had entered the country illegally.

An Israeli soldier, a prison guard officer and two civilians were arrested and indicted for the murder of Zarhum. His killing led to some national soul searching.

Source=http://www.geeskaafrika.com/20106/israel-being-sued-by-parents-of-eritrean-man-killed-after-being-mistaken-for-terrorist/

 

 

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

June 19, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – Asmara government has accused the United States of masterminding the recent border clashes between Ethiopia and Eritrean forces.

JPEG - 27.3 kb
President Isaias Afwerki (AP)

In a short statement issued on Friday, the Eritrean Ministry of Information further accused the U.S. Administration of providing arms to Ethiopia to aid the latter carry out the alleged attack.

Last week, forces of the two rival neighbours engaged in heavy border fighting around Tserona central front, an area about 75 kilometres south of the Eritrean capital, Asmara.

Hundreds of soldiers are reported to have been killed and many more wounded from both sides.

The two sides traded blame over who first sparked the two-day battle which broke out on Sunday.

The latest battle is the most serious military engagement since the 1998-2000 border war which has claimed the lives of an estimated more than 70,000 people.

In the past, Eritrea has repeatedly accused the U.S. of instigating conflict in the region.

Asmara accuses the U.S. of being major role player in instigating conflicts between Ethiopia and Eritrea. It has also accused Washington of having role on its border war with Djibouti.

This time, the Red sea nation has similarly pointed accusing fingers on Barack Obama’s administration.

“Eritrea is aware of Washington’s instigation not only of the attack against Eritrea that the Ethiopian forces launched last Sunday, June 12, 2016 but also in its deployment of weapons along the border for a much expanded offensive,” the statement alleged.

Following the clashes, the United States voiced "grave concern" and called on both sides to exercise restraint and engage in political dialogue.

In a statement issued Tuesday, John Kirby, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby urged the two arch rivals to cooperate in promoting stability and sustainable peace in the region.

“As both Ethiopia and Eritrea are party to the 2000 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and there cannot be a military solution, we call for both sides to exercise restraint and engage in political dialogue,” he said.

However Eritrea has downplayed US statement as nothing but “crocodile tears”.

“In the event, shedding crocodile tears and issuing a bland statement by the spokesperson of the U.S. State Department calling on ‘both sides to show restraint’ cannot impress anyone” Eritrea’s statement added.

It added Eritrea will disclose these facts in due time.

In a separate statement Eritrea said it is appalled by the statement of UN Secretary General, Ban-ki Moon for calling on both sides to exercise restraint and refrain from any act or statement that could exacerbate the situation.

“In the circumstances, we find the statement that apportions equal blame to the victim and the aggressor and calls on both sides to show restraint untenable” the statement reads.

“This unfortunate statement can only corrode further the moral authority of the Secretary General’s Office” it added.

The two countries remain at odds over the flashpoint town of Badme which was the source of the two-year long conflict.

The Hague-based Boundary Commission 2002 ruling gave away the disputed town to Eritrea; however, Ethiopia has refused to accept insisting for more talks on implementation.

(ST)

Source=http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article59341

Léa Surugue

 
Homo erectus footprintsThe footprints were found by the team's local guide in sediment.Courtesy of Pr Coppa

The discovery of the oldest Homo erectus footprints in the world, alongside fragments of fossilised skulls, could advance palaeontologists' knowledge of the stature and anatomy of modern man's closest ancestors. The fossils were unearthed in a region known as Buia in the heart of the Semi-arid Danakil Depression in eastern Eritrea, during an expedition led by researchers from the Italian university of Sapienza and the National Museum of Eritrea.

Their latest research started in late 2015, in an area constituted by many geological layers spanning several hundred thousand years. One day, the team's local guide made a surprising discovery: he came across a 26-square-metre foot-printed sediment surface.

Due to their ephemeral nature in soft sediments, footprints tend to be altered and eroded very quickly, so their preservation is an exceptional phenomenon. Analysing the different sediment layers, researchers found out the prints were approximately 800 000 years old. At this time, the only member of the human family tree to live in the region was Homo erectus.

The researchers thus say the prints are the oldest known to belong to Homo erectus and this is a rare occasion to get a glimpse of the lives of Homo erectus individuals in motion in their ecosystem hundreds of thousand years ago.

footprints Danakil desertThe footprints were found in the Danakil desert, EritreaStephan Gladieu/Getty Images

The sediments and the shape of the prints as well as their location alongside an extinct species of antelopes' footprints suggest the environment in which these early humans lived in was very different that it is today. Instead of a desert, it would probably have been a lakeside buffered by grassland.

Significance of the footprints

The discovery is significant because ancient fossilised footprints are very rare, but also because it has the potential to improve scientists' understanding of Homo erectus.

"The importance of the footprints is due to their extreme rarity. In Africa, archaeological sites with human fossils in Africa are not very numerous, but are still in the hundreds. The footprints of our ancestors however have so far only come from three locations but they can provide us with information that is not deductible by skeletal or dental fossils", lead researcher Alfredo Coppa told IBTimes UK.

Homo erectus footprintsProbable adult footprints of Homo erectusCourtesy of Pr Coppa

Here, the footprints appear very similar to that of modern men. They show details of the toes, and the foot shape includes a prominent arch and big toe in line with the others - features that make human feet distinctive and efficient when walking and running.

A more detailed study of these footprints will now take place and may reveal unique information about foot anatomy, stature, body mass, and locomotor biomechanics - including gait and walking speed of H erectus. Scientists may gain critical clues to better understand how hominins behaved and fared in their environment some 800 000 years ago.

Significance of the skulls fragments

In addition to the footprints, the skull fragments offer useful perspectives on the evolution of Homo erectus over thousands of years.

The Pleistocene (between around 2.588 million to 11,700 years) era represents a period of major transition in human evolution, when some of our primitive H erectus ancestors evolved into species with larger brains and more modern bodies.

footprints Danakil desertDetail of the Homo erectus footprints found at the site.Courtesy of Pr Coppa

The problem is human fossils from that time are fragmentary between 1.3 and 0.5 million years ago, especially when it comes to the postcranial area of the skull. These new fossils in Buia could therefore help to fill the gap.

The Buia fossils have an intriguing blend of primitive and more modern characteristics, combining more primitive H. erectus traits with an increase in brain size and some modern aspects of hip structure.

"In this way, the Buia fossils link H erectus with anatomy seen in later species such as H. heidelbergensis", the authors explain. The fossils and the prints thus add a new piece to the puzzle of human evolution.

Source=http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/eritrea-oldest-homo-erectus-footprints-ever-discovered-adds-piece-puzzle-human-evolution-1566082

UN Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea

Thursday, 16 June 2016 23:24 Written by

Press Statement

John Kirby
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
June 10, 2016
 

The United States takes note of the recently issued report by the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Eritrea, in particular its conclusion that there are reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in Eritrea. We have repeatedly expressed grave concern about the human rights situation in Eritrea, and that concern has been reinforced by the COI’s findings.

We strongly encourage the Government of Eritrea to engage fully with the international community and UN bodies to address the human rights situation. The Government’s willingness to work on several Universal Periodic Review recommendations is a step in the right direction. We also urge Eritrea to implement its constitution, hold national elections, honor its commitment to limit the duration of national service to 18 months, develop an independent and transparent judiciary, and release persons arbitrarily detained including political prisoners, journalists, and members of religious groups.

We continue to support international efforts to improve the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Eritrea and will work to promote these efforts within the context of the upcoming Human Rights Council session.

Source=http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2016/06/258382.htm

 JUNE 13, 2016

Photo
 
The outskirts of Asmara, the Eritrean capital, in February. Fresh border clashes between Ethiopia and Eritrea and recent talk of another border war have opened a vein of nationalism in Eritrea. Credit Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

NAIROBI, Kenya — The Eritrean Embassy in Kenya sent a text message alert Monday morning: The Ethiopians had attacked. Fighting on the border. Situation unfolding.

The jagged line separating Eritrea from its former ruler, Ethiopia, has been one of Africa’s most combustible flash points. Tens of thousands of soldiers died from 1998 to 2000 in a war that had been called as pointless as two bald men fighting over a comb.

As the news of renewed clashes in the rocky, barren frontier began to spread on Monday, many Ethiopians and Eritreans feared the worst. Witnesses said both sides were rushing troops to the Tsorona border area, and heavy artillery was apparently fired from both sides. On the Eritrean side, several people were reported to have been killed. The reports of fighting and the lack of solid information raised fears that the two countries could be sliding once again toward all-out war.

But by Monday afternoon, the extent of the fighting was unclear. The Ethiopian government said Eritrea started it. Getting more information out of Eritrea is like trying to see into a pitch-dark room: The government is one of the most secretive, isolated and repressive nations in the world.

According to Meron Estefanos, a journalist and activist from Eritrea living in Sweden who maintains a large network of contacts in Africa, anger at the government is steadily rising within Eritrea, and the shelling across the border may have been started by Eritrea as a distraction.

Photo
 
Eritrean refugees who arrived in Cyprus in May as part of an European Union relocation program for asylum seekers. Each year, thousands of Eritreans try to flee the country, but many young people in Eritrea have said they are virtually imprisoned in a national program that requires them to serve indefinitely in the military or other branches of government. Credit Iakovos Hatzistavrou/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“There is no reason for Ethiopia to start a war right now,” Ms. Estefanos said. “It just doesn’t add up when everything is going their way.”

“But,” she added, “if there is a war, or the rumor of a war, it could be a way for the Eritrean government to get support and divert attention.”

Eritrea is a tiny country, with about one-sixteenth the population of Ethiopia, against which it won a celebrated war of liberation in the early 1990s. Since then, the government’s isolationist policies have created dire economic conditions, with shortages of electricity, water, gas and bread. Many young people in Eritrea have said they are virtually imprisoned in a national program that requires them to serve indefinitely in the military or other branches of government.

Each year, thousands of young Eritreans try to flee to Europe; in recent months, hundreds have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, adding to the anti-government feelings, Ms. Estefanos said.

Recent talk of another border war against Ethiopia has opened a nationalistic vein.

“Here in Asmara, it’s peaceful despite #EthiopianAttacks against #Eritrea on the Tsorona front,” one Eritrean-American, using the handle Red Sea Fisher, wrote on Twitter on Monday, referring to Asmara, the Eritrean capital. “And you wonder why there’s national service?”

A ruling by an international commission, which both Eritrea and Ethiopia agreed to respect, awarded a piece of the disputed territory near the border to Eritrea. But Ethiopian troops still occupy that territory more than 10 years after the ruling was issued, and Eritrea has complained that the international community — especially the United States and Britain — has exerted little pressure to get the Ethiopians to leave.

Eritrea has used the dispute over the border to justify its war footing and the suspension of many civil liberties.

Analysts have said the discontent in Eritrea could erupt at any time.

Mutinous soldiers staged a coup attempt in 2013, which was quickly crushed. In that case, like the border clashes in the past two days, little is known about what really happened.

Source=http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/14/world/africa/border-clashes-between-ethiopia-and-eritrea-heighten-fears-of-war.html?_r=0

 

UNITED NATIONS — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Ethiopia and Eritrea on Wednesday “to exercise maximum restraint” following clashes on their disputed border.

Eritrea accused Ethiopia of “military aggression” by attacking its positions in the Tsorona Central Front, a border area that saw one of the bloodiest battles during their 1998-2000 border war. Ethiopia’s military said its troops were provoked into launching a counter-offensive after Eritrean forces fired into Ethiopian positions on Sunday.

The U.N. chief met Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in Brussels on Wednesday and Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson phoned Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed.

“They urged both Governments to exercise maximum restraint and refrain from any act or statement that could exacerbate the situation,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

“They also called on both governments to resolve their differences through peaceful means, including by ensuring the full implementation of the peace agreement they signed in 2000,” he said.

 Dujarric said the U.N. is available to assist in any peace efforts.

Eritrea and Ethiopia have been feuding over their border since Eritrea gained independence from the Addis Ababa government in 1993 after a 30-year guerrilla war.

A 1,700-strong U.N. force monitored a 15-mile (24-kilometer) wide, 620-mile (1,000-kilometer) long buffer zone between the Horn of Africa neighbors under the December 2000 peace agreement.

 

But tensions between the two countries remain high because of Ethiopia’s refusal to accept a boundary commission’s 2002 ruling on the border demarcation which awarded the key town of Badme to Eritrea. The Eritrean government progressively limited peacekeepers’ movements in response and it July 2008 the Security Council ended the peacekeeping mission.

Secretary-General Ban warned that that a new war could break out if U.N. peacekeepers withdraw.

Dujarric said the U.N. now has no way to monitor “what is actually going on along the border.”

Source=https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/un-chief-urges-restraint-after-ethiopia-eritrea-border-clash/2016/06/15/c7f49b28-3346-11e6-ab9d-1da2b0f24f93_story.html

Ethiopian, Eritrean Troops Clash on Border, Horn Affairs Says

June 12, 2016 — 5:47 PM CEST
 
Ethiopian and Eritrean troops clashed at several border locations on Sunday, local website Horn Affairs said, citing sources it didn’t identify. Ethiopia’s government said it had no reports of incidents.

Fighting involving heavy artillery began around 5 a.m. and continued until at least early afternoon, the Addis Ababa-based website said.

The incident could be an effort by the Eritrean government to distract attention from a June 8 United Nations report that said its leaders committed crimes against humanity, Getachew Reda, Ethiopia’s communications minister, said by phone from Frankfurt.

 Eritrea’s Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment made on Twitter Inc.

Eritrea, a former province of its neighbor, fought a two-year war with Ethiopia that formally ended in 2000, although its government has maintained war-time controls such as requiring national service and suspended enactment of a constitution.

 
 

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