Issayas rejected Security Council call for an immediate withdrawal.
|News 24 | Oct. 18, 2006 Nairobi – Eritrea on Wednesday rejected a United Nations security council call to immediately withdraw troops from a demilitarised buffer zone on its arch-foe, Ethiopia, criticising the world body for ineffectiveness.|
Asmara, which on Tuesday said it had sent soldiers into the so-called “Temporary Security Zone” (TSZ) to harvest crops, claimed it had a sovereign right to have troops on any portion of its soil, including in the TSZ.
It also denounced the UN for failing to press Ethiopia to accept a border delineation that emanated from the 2000 agreement that ended the two countries’ bloody two-year border war.
Information minister Ali Abdu said: “It is unacceptable for the UN security council to make such a tepid call that causes more confusion and even complicates the situation.
“We are in our territory and this is our sovereign state. Our citizens are engaged in development projects so what is the big deal?”
Ethiopia refuses to accept binding demarcation
On Tuesday, the security council unanimously called for Eritrea to withdraw the 17nbsp;500 troops and 15 tanks sent into the TSZ on Monday in a move that UN chief Kofi Annan called a “major breach” of the 2000 accord.
He said such actions “could seriously jeopardise the peace process” and also had “potential consequences for the wider region”.
Ali Abdu said that instead of making demands on Asmara, the UN should press Addis Ababa to implement a 2002 ruling that was part of the deal that rerouted parts of the 1 000km Ethiopian-Eritrean border.
Ethiopia had refused to accept the binding demarcation issued by an international border panel, which granted the flashpoint town of Badme to Eritrea, saying it needed revisions.
Asmara said that stance was illegal and had been trying to ratchet up pressure on the international community to force Addis Ababa to agree to the new frontier drawing.
To display its displeasure, Asmara last year slapped restrictions on patrols by the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea in its territory and expelled its entire European and North American staff.