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Security Council Prepares To Pass Resolution On Ethiopia/Eritrea Border Dispute

The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote today on a new draft resolution regarding the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The text of the resolution was drafted by Greece. Diplomats suggest the document may include possible economic sanctions against Ethiopia and Eritrea -- if either resorts to force to settle their dispute.

Political analyst Matt Bryden told Voice of America reporter Ashenafi Abedje the expected Security Council Resolution will hit all the right notes and be as even-handed as possible. He says it will also likely be tough – insisting that this no-war no-peace situation be resolved once and for all. However, Mr. Bryden doubts such a resolution will have any effect on either the Ethiopian or the Eritrean government. He says in the past, both governments have proven resistant to external pressure.

On the question of who is to blame for the current tensions at the border, the Horn of Africa specialist refrains from finger pointing. He says both sides are in violation of various aspects of the 2000 peace accord. Mr. Bryden says in a legal sense, Ethiopia’s government bears some responsibility for failing to comply with the ruling of the Boundary Commission. He points to Eritrea’s decision to ban U.N. helicopter flights and restrict the movement of U.N. forces as having contributed to a further deterioration of the border situation.

Mr. Bryden says it’s encouraging that both the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments have repeatedly said they don’t want war and that they would not be provoked into conflict by the other. All the same, he cautions the international community not to take such statements at face value. The reality at the border, he says, is one of troop building and a situation that continues to deteriorate.