Commission to demarcate Ethiopia-Eritrea border

November 14th, 2006 Print Print Email Email

NAIROBI, Nov 14 (Reuters) – An independent commission will demarcate the Ethiopian-Eritrean border on maps and leave the rival nations to establish the physical boundary themselves, a letter obtained by Reuters on Tuesday shows.“The commission has decided that it will complete the process of demarcation by the use of coordinates to establish fixed points on the boundary to be connected to each other,” the Nov. 7 letter from the commission to Ethiopian officials said.

“The parties may, if they wish, jointly erect boundary pillars on the fixed points.”

It said both Ethiopian and Eritrean officials were invited to a Nov. 20 meeting in The Hague to discuss the procedure, part of a 2000 peace deal to end their two-year frontier war.

“The parties will be afforded the opportunity to express their views regarding the foregoing procedure. Thereafter, the commission will deliberate and reconvene if it decides to proceed.”

The 2000 Algiers accord ended the 1998-2000 conflict between the Horn of Africa neighbours over a border area of dusty villages and scrubby plains. The fighting killed an estimated 70,000 people.

Under the peace deal, both sides agreed to accept an independent boundary commission’s ruling mapping the 1,000 km (621 miles) border as “final and binding”.

But the peace process ground to a halt after Ethiopia rejected the commission’s border and insisted on further talks, prompting Eritrea to restrict peacekeepers’ movements, including a ban on helicopter flights over its territory.

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