UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Friday announced that Mohamed Sahnoun, his special envoy in Africa, will be sent “in support of the diplomatic efforts” of the OAU and the US in resolving the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict. Sahnoun is expected to travel to the region soon. Annan expressed concern at “heightened tension” between the two countries, whose border dispute has rumbled on since May 1998. Sahnoun has had an “as and when employed” arrangement as Annan’s African envoy since December 1997. US facilitator Anthony Lake made his latest visit to Ethiopia last week and arrived in the Eritrean capital Asmara yesterday, news agencies report. A set of OAU-supported proposals aired in December have failed to resolve the tension, while an ill-concealed arms race has consumed millions of dollars. The humanitarian situation is stable, news and humanitarian reports say, but large numbers of people are displaced from along the common border, some deliberately evacuating border towns, others fleeing earlier fighting.
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