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Border commission accused of "violating" Algiers peace deal

[Eritrea] UNMEE peacekeepers.
UNMEE soldiers (IRIN)

Ethiopia has accused the independent Boundary Commission of "violating the central undertaking" of the Algiers peace agreement with Eritrea which it describes as sustainable peace and the prevention of human suffering.

In a response to an earlier statement by Eritrea's US embassy, Ethiopia's embassy in Washington said Asmara had made "egregious allegations".

"Perhaps the most cynical of the distortions in Eritrea’s statement is the accusation that Ethiopia has violated the Algiers Agreements and undermined the peace process set out in those Agreements," said the Ethiopian statement, dated 29 September.

"The [Boundary] Commission itself has violated the central undertaking of the Algiers Agreements in deciding that it need not consider the implications of its demarcation for the stability of the boundary or the humanitarian impact, a position Eritrea continues to insist upon," it said.

"It is for this reason that Ethiopia has now called upon the United Nations to assist in completing the peace process with the objective of a sustainable peace and normalisation of relations in the Horn of Africa region as fundamental requirements."

In its statement, the Eritrean embassy accused Ethiopia of "irreverence to international law" and said its "attempt to use humanitarian concerns as an argument for the reversal of the decision is hypocritical and illegal".

Eritrea has since called for international sanctions against Ethiopia after Prime Minister Meles Zenawi wrote to the Security Council calling for a new body to rule on contested areas of the border and saying the Boundary Commission was in "terminal crisis".

In the final Algiers peace agreement of December 2000, both sides agreed to accept the Commission's ruling as "final and binding".

But Ethiopia particularly objects to the placement of the symbolic town of Badme - flashpoint of the two-year border war - in Eritrea.

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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