Eritrea + 1 more

Eritrea-Ethiopia: Border demarcation to start in east

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ADDIS ABABA, 17 February (IRIN) - Demarcation of the contested border between Ethiopia and Eritrea is now due to start from the east, rather than from the west, sources told IRIN on Monday.
The move comes after high-level talks between both sides, hosted by the independent Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) in London on 8/9 February. The meeting was also attended by Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, the head of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).

According to diplomatic sources close to the peace process, Ethiopia was keen for border demarcation to start in the eastern sector of the 1,000 km border.

It had called for "comprehensive clarifications" to the border ruling issued last April, including details of the western sector of the border which contains the disputed village of Badme where the countries' border conflict flared up in 1998.

According to the sources, the EEBC has also ordered that both sides change their liaison officers who work with the commission in helping implement demarcation.

Meanwhile, UNMEE has dismissed criticisms that both countries have been levelling at each other in the run up to demarcation which is expected to start in May.

I don't think that UNMEE considers it something that is worrying," spokeswoman Gail Bindley Taylor Sainte told a weekly press briefing.

"I think both governments are sovereign entities and have the right to express their concerns in whatever way they would like to," she said. "We are obviously listening on both sides to hear what each side is saying, but to say that it is worrying us at this moment, I would say no."

She added that the peace process was on track "and we are looking to see how things develop on both sides and we hope that everything will go smoothly".

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