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Ethiopia, Eritrea to resume marking border -UN

Written by: Staff
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UNITED NATIONS, Mar 13 (Reuters) Ethiopia and Eritrea have agreed to resume marking out their disputed border after two days of talks in London with international mediators, the United Nations said today.

Announcement of the breakthrough came in a statement welcoming the accord by UN chief spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Legal experts from the two Horn of Africa neighbors had attended the London meeting, which began last Friday, at the invitation of an international boundary commission that was appointed to mark out the border under a peace agreement ending their two-year border war.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan ''was pleased to hear that the parties participated in the meeting constructively, and encouraged by their agreement to arrangements for the demarcation of the boundary, which the Commission delimited in April 2002, to be resumed,'' Dujarric said.

The 1998-2000 border war killed some 70,000 people. The peace accord ending the conflict required both sides to agree in advance to accept the border as laid out by the panel.

But Ethiopia later rejected the new boundary, leading the commission to disband in 2003 without being able to complete the demarcation of the new border on the ground.

A frustrated Eritrea then banned UN helicopter flights over its territory and imposed other restrictions on the peacekeeping mission helping implement the peace deal.

That triggered troop movements on both sides, increasing tensions along the border and leading to the current impasse.

Then in January, the United States asked the Security Council to let it try to resolve the dispute. The meeting of the two sides with the members of the boundary commission was part of the US initiative.

REUTERS PR PM2344

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