Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Djibouti Asks U.N. Security Council to Help Resolve Its Border Dispute with Eritrea

Djibouti  Adapted from a U.N. Press Release . . .



Djibouti has asked the U.N. Security Council to take steps to solve the border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea, warning that if the dispute remains unresolved it will set a dangerous precedent for other crises around the world.  Roble Olhaye, Djibouti’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, told the final day of the General Assembly’s annual high-level segment that the U.N. Security Council needs to use “all means at its disposal” to end the stand-off between the African neighbors.


In June last year, following weeks of rising 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.  This January, 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 U.N. 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 offered to use his good offices (under Chapter VI of the UN Charter) to help resolve the issue.


Today, Mr. Olhaye called for the row over Doumeira – which he noted is “situated in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world” – to be resolved along the lines of the Council resolution, “without further equivocation, confusion and deliberate procrastination.”


Exercising his right of reply, an Eritrean delegate told the U.N. General Assembly that his country “doesn’t have territorial ambitions” and has not occupied land belonging to Djibouti. He also said that Djibouti had presented a one-sided view of the situation.


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