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Ethiopia Accuses Eritrea of Backing Insurgents


Ethiopia's prime minister has accused Eritrea of backing insurgents with the goal of destabilizing his country.

In a speech to parliament Tuesday, Meles Zenawi said Eritrea is aiding rebels from the Oromo Liberation Front, remnants of Ethiopia's former Marxist Derg regime, and similar groups.

Mr. Meles spoke one day after several explosions in the Ethiopian capital killed one person and wounded at least 15. He did not directly blame Eritrea for the blasts but said the Asmara government is trying to instigate conflict.

Eritrea's Information Minister Ali Abu denied the accusations, saying they are the philosophy of somebody with an inferiority complex.

Eritrea's ambassador to the U.S., Girma Asmerom, told VOA his country provides political support to the Oromo Liberation Movement, because of what he called the "injustice" in Ethiopia. However, he said it has nothing to do with inciting unrest.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has warned that the long-running border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia could flare into new hostilities.

Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a border war from 1998 to 2000 that killed 70,000 people. The countries signed a peace deal in which they agreed to let an independent commission mark the border. But Ethiopia has refused to accept the commission's ruling, issued in 2002.

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