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ADDIS ABABA (HAN) June 15.2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. By Aaron Maasho. Ethiopia and Eritrea both suffered casualties during weekend skirmishes along their border but Addis Ababa will not escalate the dispute on its own, an Ethiopian official said on Tuesday.

The Horn of Africa rivals accused each other of triggering clashes that took place along the central stretch of their disputed frontier on Sunday, highlighting persisting tension over an unresolved boundary dispute that sparked war in 1998-2000.

The Red Sea state seceded from Ethiopia in 1991 after a three-decade liberation war. About 70,000 people were killed in the border war that flared up just seven years later.

In a statement, Asmara’s information ministry said on Tuesday that Ethiopian troops had “sustained heavy casualties” after launching the attack on the Tsorona Central Front along its share of the border.

Ethiopian government spokesman Getachew Reda said both sides had suffered casualties but that Eritrean soldiers had “fired the first salvo” that led to the incident.

“Eritrea fired first, but they did not expect the kind of response that we were able to mount. The extent of the damage they have suffered will hopefully make them think twice,” he told a news conference.

“We are capable of waging a full-scale war against Eritrea, but simply we don’t choose to. That is why we have withdrawn our forces once our objectives were achieved,” Getachew said.

Tsorona is a town south of the Eritrean capital Asmara and close to the frontier. The area saw intense fighting during the 1998-2000 conflict.

Soon after the end of full-scale war, the United Nations deployed a ceasefire monitoring force on the border but withdrew it in 2008 in response to restrictions imposed on it by Eritrea that the U.N. said at the time made it impossible for the mission to function.

In addition to sporadic clashes, Eritrea and Ethiopia also routinely accuse the other of backing rebels trying to destabilise and topple the other’s government.

Eritrea, which is under U.N. sanctions, says world powers have failed to push Ethiopia to accept an international arbitration ruling that handed a flashpoint town to Asmara. Ethiopia says it wants talks on implementation.

 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Ethiopian defense forces should march to Afewerki’s hideout and drag him to trial for his crime against humanity in Eritrea as proven by the evidence presented by neutral international organizations .

  2. This is not the first military clash on Erytrea-Ethiopian boarder conduced by military or afar groups. However at the moment none of the two countries really wants a war to happen. Erytrea probably has not the military capacities to sustain a high-scale military war against Ethiopia. The great number of civilians, conscripts and miltaries who had fleed from Erytrea induces low level of the morale of its troops. For many years Erytrea is backing any movement wich it is able to create unstability amidst Horn of Africa: FRUD, ONLF, OLF, GINBOT7, Al Shabaab… This attack occured in less favorable moment for Erytrea than few monthes ago, when Oromo political movement in Ethiopia was more active. The greater instability would disturbed ethiopian government’s action . In another way the last week victory of Ethiopian National Army over Al Shebaab in Halgan shows how Ethiopia can manage Eastern Front without fearing ONLF to disturb its plans. Ethiopia develops economy in northern part of the countriy, especially in Tigray Region: The Mekele-Djibouti railway line is under construction and Ethiopia is discussing with Sudan to developp trade throught Port Sudan. Ethiopia had simply no need of war in this region. It is very likely on the other hand that thoses fights join after a strong media campaign newspapers as a development of the charges which Eritrea has to face. The country is again accused by the UN of grave infringements of human rights, repression of the political opponents, the population generally and the very difficult economic situation pulling an important exodus of its population. Eritrea looks with those border incidents to put back forward the question of the border zone with Ethiopia where Erytrea estimates to be right and to look like victim on the international scene. The preservation of a state of permanent latent conflict is also a means to justificate a repressive domestic policy.

  3. The EDF (eritrean defence force) of 2016 is not like the EDF of 1998 but equipped with every thing a Modern Army can equipped with despite the total embargo.and the pain the punishment to ethiopia will be painful

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