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Last Updated: Friday, 5 March, 2004, 12:23 GMT
Eritrea denies new Horn talks
Badme
Ethiopia refuses to hand over Badme
Eritrea has denied reports that it had asked Nigeria to mediate in its border dispute with Ethiopia.

Presidential spokesman Yemane Gebremeskel said his government holds that the boundary commission ruling in 2002 should be implemented by Ethiopia.

Nigeria's foreign minister had told the BBC that Eritrea had asked them to intervene in the dispute.

But Mr Gebremeskel said Eritrea had only sent out a routine letter to lobby African leaders.

Stalemate

Ethiopia rejects the ruling that the symbolic town of Badme, where a two-and-a-half year border war began, is in Eritrea territory.

"No mediation from any friendly country has been contemplated or accepted," Mr Gebremeskel said.

"Mediation would mean we are going to accept a new mechanism and that would mean we compromise the sanctity of colonial boundaries and the Algiers Agreement [which ended the war]."

Tensions have been rising as the stand-off has continued and UN envoy Legwaila Joseph Legwaila recently said the situation was still dangerous.

Last month Eritrea refused to meet another UN envoy, Lloyd Axworthy, saying there was nothing to talk about - just how Ethiopia was going to obey the border ruling.

Nigeria's Foreign Minister Olu Adeneji had told the BBC Network Africa programme that Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki has sought the help of his Nigerian counterpart Olusegun Obasanjo, to persuade Ethiopia to implement the decision of the boundary commission.

"We have a similar subject with Cameroon which we are resolving through political dialogue and we intend to pass the same example to the two countries," said Mr Adeneji.

Germany and Britain have urged Ethiopia to accept the boundary commission ruling, to allow the border's physical demarcation to proceed.

A UN peacekeeping force is patrolling the security zone between Ethiopia and Eritrea.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Foreign Minister Olu Adeneji on BBC Network Africa
"I cannot prejudge the conclusion of the talks before they take place"



SEE ALSO:
Horn tensions trigger UN warning
04 Feb 04  |  Africa
Eritrea rejects new peace envoy
02 Jan 04  |  Africa
Country profile: Ethiopia
10 Oct 03  |  Country profiles
Country profile: Eritrea
10 Oct 03  |  Country profiles


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