Eritrea insists Ethiopia implements border ruling

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NAIROBI, Sep 26 (Reuters) Eritrea maintains its demand that Ethiopia implement a border ruling agreed under a pact to end their 1998-2000 war, a minister said today after Ethiopia threatened to call off the peace agreement.

In a letter to Eritrea's Foreign Minister on Tuesday, Ethiopia accused Asmara of violating the deal on several fronts including coordinating ''terrorist activity''.

Addis Ababa said as a result it was considering terminating or suspending all or part the Algiers agreement that ended the two-year border conflict that killed 70,000 people.

Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu said Asmara had no knowledge of any such letter and that it was Ethiopia's concern.

''That's not our business. It's up to them,'' he told Reuters by telephone.

''What we know is there has been a legal verdict and what we want is the implementation of that. No more, no less.'' Relations between the Horn of Africa neighbours plummeted when Ethiopia initially rejected a 2002 ruling by an independent border commission, despite agreeing beforehand to accept whatever the commission ruled as final and binding.

Earlier this month, Ethiopia said its soldiers were just metres (yards) apart from Eritrean troops who moved into what is supposed to be a neutral buffer zone.

Analysts and diplomats say neither country wants to go to war, in spite of the inflammatory rhetoric on both sides. But they worry that an unplanned skirmish could trigger conflict.

The two countries are on opposite sides of the conflict in Somalia, with Ethiopia backing the government and Eritrea Islamists forced out of Mogadishu in December.

Eritrea denies Ethiopia's allegations of support for armed groups. This month, it accused Ethiopia of scuppering demarcation talks on their 1,000 km (620 mile) frontier.

Abdu ruled out any dialogue.

''There was not, there is not and there will not be any direct communication between us,'' he said.

REUTERS JK AS1522

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