Eritrea + 1 more

Eritrea-Ethiopia: Countries' commitment to peace process hailed

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ADDIS ABABA, 21 March (IRIN) - The Ethiopian and Eritrean armed forces were praised on Friday for their "disciplined and faultless" commitment to the peace process.
UN force commander Robert Gordon paid tribute to both countries following a meeting earlier this week between their military leaders in Djibouti.

His comments were contained in a statement released by the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) after the 16th Military Coordination Commission (MCC) meeting.

UNMEE said the meeting had included a "detailed discussion" on the increasing number of newly-laid mines exploding in the 25 km-wide buffer zone between the two countries.

Ethiopia and Eritrea are looking at issuing a joint statement to try and stop new mines being laid, UNMEE added at a weekly video-linked press briefing in the two capitals.

The move came as Eritrea's Brigadier-General Abrahaley Kifle accused Ethiopia of laying mines in the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ).

But an Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesman dismissed the accusations as baseless. "The claim is totally false," the spokesman said in a statement on Friday. "This is completely groundless and Ethiopia completely denies these allegations."

UNMEE spokeswoman Gail Bindley Taylor Sainte told the briefing the mission did not know who was laying mines in the TSZ.

She also said the peace process was on track, despite the increasing war of words between the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments as demarcation of the common border approaches.

[See also: ERITREA-ETHIOPIA: Ethiopia rejects accusations of laying mines at: http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=32975 and ERITREA-ETHIOPIA: Islamic group says it planted mines at: http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=32977 ]

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