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Eritrea Rejects Accusations of Supporting Regional Rebels

The leaders of Ethiopia, Sudan, and Yemen have accused Eritrea of fomenting regional conflict, a charge Eritrea vehemently denies.

Eritrea defended itself Wednesday against accusations that the country supports rebels in Ethiopia and the troubled Darfur region of northwestern Sudan.

Eritrea's presidential spokesman, Yemane Gebremeskel, has told the media his country is not to blame for instability in Ethiopia and Sudan.

Mr. Gebremeskel told the United Nations' news agency IRIN it was Ethiopia that annexed Eritrea and it was Ethiopia that started a war between the two countries over their disputed border.

He said Ethiopia is the one that recently rejected the boundary determination of an independent commission, which forced the commission to postpone its border demarcation exercise indefinitely.

The spokesman told IRIN Eritrea is not at all involved in the Darfur conflict, and that the accusation was, a lame excuse to make hostile comments. The accusations came during a two-day summit of neighboring countries held earlier this week in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia's prime minister, Meles Zenawi, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, and his Yemeni counterpart Ali Abdallah Saleh met to discuss regional security, including the fight against terrorism in the Horn of Africa.

President al-Bashir told reporters Monday it is not a secret that Eritrea is exerting huge efforts to create instability in Sudan.

And Ethiopian Prime Minister Zenawi said Eritrea "has problems with many of its neighbors."