Ethiopia Thursday accused Eritrea of being the main stumbling block to the attainment of peace in the Horn of Africa. According to the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry, Eritrea has consistently rejected any diplomatic efforts to solve its dispute with Ethiopia.
In a statement made by the Ethiopian Embassy, Addis Ababa alleged that Eritrea had made it extremely difficult for Ethiopia to put in place a mechanism geared towards funding a peaceful resolution to other conflicts in the region, including the Djibouti/Eritrea Crisis.
To support its claim, the Ethiopian government referred to the report prepared by the UN fact-finding mission on the Djibouti/Eritrea crisis that has now been presented to the UN Security Council.
Ethiopia says that the fact-finding mission identified the problem arising from the crisis as a threat to Djibouti’s stability and held that if not resolved, it could adversely affect security in the Horn.
Ethiopia further claimed that Eritrea had devoted “almost all its efforts to the destabilization of Ethiopia and has recently added a new dimension – anti-Ethiopian media broadcasts in several local languages.
“Far from wanting any resolution, Eritrea’s strategy calls for continued widening of division between the two countries and the nullification of any or all efforts to try and build up mutual confidence or progress towards any settlement of differences,” the statement read in part.
This, Ethiopia says, is in contrast with its own “strategic objectives” which “do not reject co-existence with the Eritrean government”. The foreign affairs ministry further says, that Ethiopia is committed to resolving the dispute as quickly as possible.
Ethiopia and Eritrea have been at loggerheads for a number of years now, with relations deteriorating further when Eritrea launched its own currency and Ethiopia responded by insisting that cross-border trade be conducted in hard currency.
Officials now claim that there had been other minor economic and political problems between the two sides, while Eritrea has recently revealed details of a hushed-up 1997 border clash at Bada in July 1997.
Other causes of friction between the two neighbours are new maps of Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, and an allegedly enlarged Ethiopian national map on the re-issued Ethiopian currency, the Birr.