- The international community has condemned the military aggression and use of arms in this week's border clashes between Eritrea and Djibouti, which killed nine Djiboutian soldiers and wounded over 60 in three days. Increasingly isolated Eritrea is blamed for the aggression.
The United States' State Department this night condemned the violence, saying the hostilities represent an additional threat to peace and security in the already unstable Horn of Africa.
The US in a statement urged Djibouti and Eritrea to cease all military hostilities immediately and to reduce tensions by withdrawing troops from the border area.
The statement called on Eritrea and Djibouti to move forward at once to resolve border issues peacefully, in accordance with international law, saying especially Eritrea should accept offers of third party mediation in this regard.
Also the French Foreign Ministry has expressed deep concern over the border clashes. "We strongly condemn the use of weapons and call on both parties, particularly Eritrea, to commit to a cease-fire and resume dialogue to resolve this dispute through diplomatic channels," the French Ministry said in a statement.
France urged Eritrea to be cooperative and to accept a facilitation mission led by a neutral third party to visit the two capitals Asmara and Djibouti to assist the two countries to find a compromise solution.
Both the US and France have large military bases in Djibouti, both vital in regional "war against terror" operations. These bases have for some time been a thorn in the eye of Eritrea, which sees the Washington government as its arch-enemy.
On the other hand, the increasingly isolated Eritrean government yesterday released a strong-worded statement with confusing wording, again demonstrating it is out of touch with the international society.
Eritrea's Foreign Ministry denied its army's aggression at the Djiboutian border, accusing Djibouti of dragging its name into unwanted disputes and hostility. "Under no circumstances would Eritrea get involved in an invitation of squabbles and acts of hostility designed to undermine good-neighbourliness," read the Eritrea Foreign Affairs Ministry's statement.
Meanwhile, the Djiboutian government press agency 'Agence Djiboutienne d'Information' (ADI) said the small Horn country denounces the "aggressive attitude" of Eritrea.
Djibouti's Foreign minister said his country would "defend its supreme interests by all means" and he "firmly" condemned this new aggression by Eritrea, which was degenerating into a "role as a rouge state."
The border clashes erupted on Tuesday after the Djiboutian government had received an ultimatum by Eritrea to return 30 Eritrean deserters on its soil or face armed action. Djibouti also accused Asmara of entering its territory.
Djibouti now has close to 75 percent of its troops stationed along its boundary with Eritrea, which makes it one of Africa's most militarised areas. Both countries had in the past clashed twice over the border area at the southern end of the Red Sea.
Since Eritrea gained independence in 1993, the Horn of Africa country has been involved in two serious conflicts over territory with its neighbours, both Ethiopia and Sudan. While conflict continues with Ethiopia, Eritrean-Sudanese relations have since thawed.
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