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Friday, 22 December, 2000, 14:56 GMT
Horn POW releases delayed
Isaias Afwerki, Kofi Annan, Madeleine Albright, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Meles Zenawi
The peace deal took a great deal of diplomatic effort
The releasing of prisoners of war captured duing the two year border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea has been delayed until Saturday after the plane expected to transport them developed engine problems.

Ethiopian officials had announced that more than 100 POWs captured by Eritrea would be sent back to Ethiopia later on Friday.

A foreign ministry official was quoted on Ethiopian radio saying that over 200 Eritrean prisoners of war would also be sent home on Saturday.

Thousands of POWs were captured by both sides during hostilities, which ended in June.

A formal peace agreement was signed in Algiers on 12 December, brokered by the Organisation of African Unity.

The deal establishes commissions to delineate the disputed border, as well as providing for an exchange of prisoners and the return of displaced people.

Ethiopia estimate there are 1,500 Ethiopian POWs in Eritrean hands.

Several thousand Eritrean POWs are expected to be released by Ethiopia.

Tied aid

Earlier, Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Senator Rino Serri announced in Addis Ababa that Italy would provide $140m over the next three years to help Ethiopia with post-war reconstruction.

UN Dutch troops on their way from Massawa port to Asmara
More than 4,000 UN troops will monitor the peace deal
Senator Rino Serri, who played a key role in the mediation resulting in the peace pact, said that Italy and the rest of Europe immediately wanted to renew co-operation and relations with Ethiopia, now that the war was over.

The EU suspended more than $325m in long-term development aid to Ethiopia after the war with Eritrea broke out in 1998.

The money from Italy will be invested in health and education projects as well as rebuilding road infrastructure and the demobilisation of Ethiopian troops.

However, the senator added that the aid is tied to cuts in military expenditure.

Our correspondent in Addis Ababa said that Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin refused to be drawn, at a news conference, into saying whether Ethiopia planned military spending cuts, saying only that Ethiopia had learnt lasting lessons about defending herself in the past couple of years.

More than 1,700 of the 4,200 members of the UN peacekeeping force have now arrived in the border areas to oversee the ceasefire and supervise the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Eritrean territory which they have occupied since May this year.

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See also:

19 Dec 00 | Africa
Ethiopia to release Eritrean POWs
04 Dec 00 | Africa
Eritrea: Final deal with Ethiopia
30 Oct 00 | Africa
Eritrea confronts the future
24 Oct 00 | Africa
Horn of Africa appeal
28 Sep 00 | Africa
UN monitors optimistic on border
11 Dec 00 | Africa
Horn peace deal: Full text
12 Dec 00 | Africa
Horn peace deal signed
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