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UN Hopeful Ethiopia Will Withdraw Troops From Tense Border

A senior United Nations official has expressed optimism that Ethiopia will reduce troop levels near the country's tense border with Eritrea.

The commander of U.N. peacekeeping forces along the border, Major-General Rajender Singh, told reporters Thursday he has discussed the situation with Ethiopian officials.

He said he is "hopeful" Ethiopia will pull back additional troops it recently sent to the border amid the rising tensions with Eritrea.

The general said he plans to have similar talks with Eritrean officials.

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution last week that threatens sanctions against both countries if they use force to settle their border dispute. Eritrea rejected the measure, on the grounds it would not penalize Ethiopia for refusing to accept international demarcation of the border.

The countries fought a border war from 1998 to 2000 that killed 70,000 people.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.