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ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: Eritrea studying Ethiopia ceasefire proposal

Eritrea has said it is examining a renewed ceasefire proposal by Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

In an interview with Voice of America radio broadcast on Wednesday, Meles said Ethiopia would offer a ceasefire in its border dispute with Eritrea if Asmara promised to pull out of Ethiopian territory, rather than insisting on prior troop withdrawal.

"We are not saying they have to withdraw first before there is a
ceasefire", Meles said. "I mean, they cannot withdraw without a ceasefire. How do you implement that?"

A spokesman at the Eritrean embassy in Nairobi told IRIN on Wednesday Asmara was still examining Meles' statement and it would be premature to comment. "We are trying to study it, and really dissect it, so it is too early to react", he said.

Meles' statement came after the UN Security Council on Tuesday reiterated its concern at the ongoing conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and expressed strong support for new initiatives to bring a peaceful resolution to the border dispute.

Council members welcomed a decision by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to send his special envoy, Mohamed Sahnoun, to support the OAU's peace efforts.

Meanwhile, an OAU delegation that was expected to travel to the Eritrean capital Asmara on Tuesday postponed its mission because of "sudden calendar hitches", according to a Pan African News Agency report. No new date has been set for the mission.

Ethiopia accepted an OAU peace plan last November and Eritrea in February of this year but the countries interpret it differently and neither side has implemented it.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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