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Commission Sets Deadline for Demarcation of Eritrean, Ethiopian Border


An independent boundary commission has given Ethiopia and Eritrea one year to physically demarcate their border or have it marked for them.

In a statement Wednesday, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission said the two nations should begin erecting border-marking pillars by November 2007. It said if the parties cannot reach agreement by then, the border as drawn by the commission will automatically stand.

Earlier this month, the commission said it would demarcate the border on maps and leave the two countries to establish the physical boundary themselves.

The commission has been unable to physically mark the 1,000-kilometer border because of disagreements and tension between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The two countries fought a war over the border between 1998 and 2000. More than 70,000 people were killed.

The boundary commission was founded as part of a peace agreement that ended the war. But Ethiopia rejected the panel's 2002 ruling that awarded the town of Badme to Eritrea. Since then, Eritrea has rejected Ethiopia's calls for revisions or more talks.

The commission said Wednesday that it reached its decision after a meeting at The Hague last week that both countries declined to attend.