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Ethiopia, Eritrea Pledge to Improve Border Security - 2003-11-06

The Ethiopian and Eritrean governments have said they will improve security along their contested border to prevent further violence. The pledge follows a weekend shootout at the border in which one Eritrean died.

The U.N. Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea says both sides have promised to prevent further shootings along their contested border.

Last Saturday, an Eritrean militiaman was shot by men believed to be Ethiopian soldiers in a buffer zone between the two countries. The United Nations is investigating the incident.

Ethiopia has denied that its troops were involved in the incident. In a statement released late Wednesday, the government said it is firmly loyal to the peaceful settlement of the case.

Ethiopia's disagreement with a decision of the independent Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission to include the disputed area of Badme within Eritrea's border has led to the suspension of the commission's border marking process.

The commission was to have set up posts and other border signs to mark the border by the end of October.

Dispute over the exact location of the border was the cause of a brutal war between the two countries from 1998 to 2000 in which an estimated 70,000 people died.

As part the peace agreement, the exact location of the border was left up to the commission.