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Thursday, 1 June, 2000, 12:58 GMT 13:58 UK
Ethiopia's victory statement
Retreating Eritrean soldiers
Did Eritrean troops withdraw or were they defeated?
Ethiopia has announced a "clear military victory" over Eritrea in the following statement published on its web site.

Our country Ethiopia has been known for her fidelity to international laws and principles and for her policy directed at all states, particularly neighbouring countries, of respect for equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence.

The EPLF regime, which just a month ago was creating obstacles for the peace talks, has been forced to come to Algiers following its military defea

The policy that Ethiopia believed in and followed in respect to its relations with Eritrea was based on these principles as well.

Despite this, the ruling dictatorial EPLF (Eritrean People's Liberation Front) regime disrupted the budding relations between the two peoples, by its invasion and occupation of Ethiopian territories, using border claims as a pretext.

At the time when the arrogant regime infringed upon our sovereignty, the House of People's Representatives and the Council of Ministers of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia issued a clear and unambiguous resolution demanding that the aggressor withdraws its troops, or failing that, we would be forced to safeguard our national sovereignty by force.

The government has been guided by this decision over the past two years.

Avenues for peace

Jubilant Ethiopians
Ethiopians have been celebrating their military successes
In the interest of a peaceful solution to the conflict, efforts have been deployed to pursue all available avenues of peace to regain our sovereignty in full.

At the same time, priority was also given to building a capable defence force that would be able to reverse the aggression committed against our country.

The people of Ethiopia and the international community have been keen witnesses to the fact that the arrogant Isaias regime has, since the start, been rejecting the path of peace.

Viewing the quest for peace through its warped vision of military exigency, the regime has demonstrated an appetite for the peaceful option when faced with military defeat, while rejecting that same option when it believed it had the upper hand.

In the end the regime ensured the failure of the Algiers peace talks last month with its customary intransigent position.

Regaining territory

After exercising extraordinary patience and with the realisation that the peaceful option had been exhausted, the Ethiopian government was compelled to liberate the territories under occupation and regain national sovereignty.

Eritrean troops pulling back
Eritrea has not conceded defeat to the Ethiopians
The rapid and effective offensive taken by the heroic defence forces has caused the crushing defeat of the enemy.

The measures taken have resulted in the humiliating defeat of the forces of aggression, as at other times in Ethiopia's history, and caused the destruction of the much-vaunted enemy force.

The objectives of the government which were declared at the start of the conflict, and followed through since then, were to ensure the return of our territories and the reversal of the aggression.

These objectives have been fully met as a result of the military actions that were launched on 12th May.

We have regained the territories that were under the control of the enemy, and our sovereignty has been restored.

The enemy has suffered great human and material losses and is now morally bankrupt.

We have been able to reverse the aggression in a short time. We have scored a clear military victory.

Mission accomplished

The force that deeply penetrated Eritrea on the western front is now withdrawing to positions which will insure the defence of our territories that have been liberated from the enemy.

Our force in the northern front has been instructed to stand down.

Our force in the east will embark on verifying that the area is free from remnants of the enemy force and carry out activities to strengthen the defence of the territories that it has liberated.

As the crisis is presently moving from the military to the diplomatic arena, Ethiopia is attending the Algiers talks with an approach that would enable her to safeguard her legitimate rights and interests.

The EPLF regime, which just a month ago was creating obstacles for the peace talks, has been forced to come to Algiers following its military defeat.

The discussions have not been concluded - they have only just commenced.

If the enemy were to embark on any sort of provocation to put an obstacle on the path we have charted, our heroic ground and air forces will continue to take the appropriate action.

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