Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Bilateral Relations: Eritrea and Djibouti sign border dispute agreement

UN - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the agreement signed by Eritrea and Djibouti to resolve their two-year border dispute through a negotiated settlement.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh signed the agreement on Sunday in a deal reached under the auspices of Qatar and its Emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani.

“The Secretary-General is encouraged by this positive development, which he believes will contribute to long-term peace and stability in the Horn of Africa region,” he said in a statement issued by his spokesperson in which he also voiced deep appreciation for the Qatari Emir's mediation efforts.

“The agreement entrusts Qatar with establishing a mechanism for the resolution of the border dispute and the normalization of relations between the two countries.”

The deal ends the dispute that erupted in early 2008 when, following weeks of tensions and military build-up, the two countries' armed forces clashed over an un-demarcated area in the Red Sea known as Doumeira, killing 35 people and leaving dozens of others wounded.

In January 2009 the Security Council adopted a resolution demanding that Eritrea pull its forces from the disputed area and cooperate with diplomatic initiatives, and welcoming Djibouti's withdrawal of its forces to its positions before the dispute.

A United Nations fact-finding mission sent to the region after the dispute flared was welcomed by Djibouti but blocked by Eritrea, which refused to meet with it or with any envoy of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who had offered to use his good offices to help resolve the issue.

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