Ethiopia-Eritrea: IRIN News Briefs [19990519]

Ethiopia-Eritrea: IRIN News Briefs [19990519]


Mubarak hosts Meles in effort to broker peace

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Tuesday briefed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Addis Ababa's point of view on the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict. Mubarak, who has been trying to mediate a peace deal in recent weeks, met Eritrean President Isayas Afewerki on Monday.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Musa said the talks between Meles and Mubarak on Tuesday dwelt on the border conflict and initiatives to end it, Reuters reported. Musa said the aim was to halt the fighting and establish peace within the OAU framework agreement. Meles was scheduled to resume talks with Mubarak on Wednesday.

Isayas claims Ethiopia wants to take Asmara

Eritrean President Isayas Afewerki has claimed that Ethiopia is determined to march on Asmara and overthrow his government. "Reaching Asmara, that is the ultimate objective of any military operation. They cannot allow this country to live in peace, or this government to survive", Reuters reported the Eritrean president as saying. Isayas also claimed the Ethiopian government was too weak domestically to sign a ceasefire: "They have said it openly, it is either they survive or we survive ... They are scared of the consequences of peace."

US regrets Ethiopian "escalation" of border war

The US embassy in Asmara on Tuesday released a State Department statement regretting Ethiopia's bombings of Eritrea - at Massawa port, Binbina and Zalambessa - in recent days and urging both sides to end the fighting. An embassy spokesman told IRIN on Wednesday that the US was deeply concerned by the recent bombings, which it described as an escalation of the fighting, and considered a ceasefire between the two sides a top priority. The US urged Ethiopia and Eritrea to quickly implement the OAU framework agreement - which both sides claim to agree with, but on whose interpretation they differ significantly.

Ethiopia hosts meeting of Somali faction leaders

Officials from the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have had a preparatory meeting in Addis Ababa with Somali faction leaders in advance of a planned meeting between them and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, media sources report. Ethiopian officials are reported to have strongly urged the Somalis to collectively agree on the establishment of an umbrella body - similar to the National Salvation Council that emerged from negotiations in Sodere, central Somalia, in December 1996 - and a complete strategy for challenging Hussein Aideed, politically and militarily. It is hoped that, after deliberations, the Somali leaders would have agreed such a collective stand before meeting Meles.


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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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