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Sunday, July 11, 1999 Published at 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK

World: Africa

Little progress at Horn peace talks

Ethiopia and Eritrea have been at war for more than a year

Talks in Libya aimed at resolving the border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea have ended with no signs of progress.

Ethiopia - Eritrea conflict
Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and an Organisation of African Unity delegation met Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in Tripoli on Saturday - but the Ethiopian leader said later that "not much" had happened during the meeting.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki never arrived in Tripoli, despite reports earlier that he too was expected to meet Col Gaddafi.

The Libyan and Eritrean leaders reportedly had discussions by telephone on Saturday.

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin said the Eritrean government's absence from the talks demonstrated that Asmara was not committed to peace.

OAU summit

The talks were aimed at brokering some sort of agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea - which have been at war for 14 months over a border dispute - in the run-up to the OAU summit due to start in Algiers on Monday.

Both Col Gaddafi and Meles Zenawi have now arrived in Algiers for the summit, which is likely to be dominated by attempts to bring peace to Africa's conflict zones.

It is still not clear whether President Afwerki will attend the Algiers summit.

'Possible breakthrough'

[ image: Colonel Gaddafi: Peacemaker in the Horn?]
Colonel Gaddafi: Peacemaker in the Horn?
Earlier this month, Libyan television reported that two days of shuttle diplomacy by Deputy Foreign Minister, Ali Abdulsalem Attaricki, had led to the possibility of a breakthrough in the Horn conflict.

Libya said Ethiopia and Eritrea had accepted a peace plan and had agreed to an immediate halt to fighting ahead of a full ceasefire.

However, at the time Eritrea and Ethiopia both cast doubt on the Libyan statement.

Tens of thousands of soldiers have died since fighting broke out in May 1998 over a border dispute.

Both sides agreed to an earlier OAU agreement on signing a ceasefire - but disagreed on its implementation.

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