Canada: Axworthy ready to mediate Ethiopia-Eritrea dispute

from Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
Published on 09 Dec 2003
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Former Canadian foreign minister Lloyd Axworthy is willing to serve as a special U.N. envoy to break the stalemate on demarcating the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Winnipeg Free Press said on Tuesday.

Axworthy told the newspaper he had met United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is seeking a negotiator to settle the border dispute between the Horn of Africa neighbors after a 2-1/2 year war.

"I'm available if necessary," the paper quoted Axworthy as saying. "But it's (his) call. We've discussed the issue but it's up to him to make the decision whether or not it warrants intervention."

Last week diplomats at the United Nations told Reuters that Axworthy would be appointed to the job of mediator.

Axworthy, best known for helping push through a global treaty to ban anti-personnel land mines, served as foreign minister from 1996 to 2000. He now heads the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia.

Ethiopia wants the United Nations to consider finding an alternative way to solve the controversy after it rejected decisions by an independent commission, which had been appointed to map out the frontier, the main cause of the war.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation:

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