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Africa | Djibouti | Eritrea
Politics | Human rights

AU condemns Eritrea military attack on Djibouti

afrol News, 1 July - African Union has condemned Eritrea for using military action against Djibouti near Red Sea shipping route, a disputable border, saying it should withdraw from disputed land immediately and unconditionally.

Djibouti accused Eritrea earlier this month of moving troops across the border, sparking clashes which killed close to a dozen soldiers. Eritrea has however denied the accusation.

A statement released at AU summit in Egypt yesterday urged Eritrea to show restraint, resort to dialogue to resolve any bilateral dispute and to give cooperation to all efforts deployed to resolve the border demarcation crisis.

The condemnation comes in less than a week after African Union had commissioned a team of investigators to unravel route cause of Djibouti and Eritrea clashes on border demarcation.

Djibouti has claimed calmness on the border last week since being backed by French troops, saying despite the situation; French warships would arrive off its coast soon.

Djibouti's foreign minister Mr Mahamoud Ali Youssouf said he did not believe Eritrea was in a position to attack his country over its Djibouti-Eritrean Border Plan, while the Djibouti military general announced plans to prepare border security watch positions for an Eritrean enemy soldier's movement.

"The Eritrean regime know fully well what the consequences of such a nasty act would be," Mr Youssouf, told reporters.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who met his Djibouti counterpart Mr Dileita Mohamed has denied rumours that his country was planning to begin mediation to settle the dispute between the two countries.

Last month's confrontation was the first clash since 1996. Tensions upped between the two neighbours three months ago raising fears of full military confrontation. The two countries had in the past clashed twice over the border area at the southern end of the Red Sea.

Tension between the Horn of Africa countries has been high since April 16 when Eritrean troops raided Ras Doumeira, a disputed promontory on the shores of the Red Sea, as it pursued deserters, which resulted to clashes that killed nine people in June.

Eritrea which gained independence in 1993 from Ethiopia, has been involved in two serious conflicts on border demarcation is still recovering from its 1998 war with Ethiopia.

Djibouti hosts French largest overseas military base since signing a mutual defense pact with Paris in 1977. It also hosts a United States military base.

Since Eritrea gained independence, the Horn of Africa country has been involved has seen conflicts over territorial demarcations with its neighbours.

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