By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
April 30 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) – The Ethiopian government on Monday has reiterated its readiness to hold peace talks with Eritrea to resolve their decades-long border dispute.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) meets with Ethiopian foreign minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at UN headquarters in New York April 25, 2013 (UN Photo)
During his meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York, the Ethiopian Minister of foreign Affairs Tedros Adhanom accused the Eritrean government of refusing to engage in peace talks.
Adhanom said his country is ready to sit down for direct negotiations with Eritrea without any preconditions regarding to level, time or venue.
But the Ethiopian top diplomat stressed “the belligerent party opposed to these talks has always been the Eritrean side”.
According to the ministry of foreign Affairs, Tedros expressed solidarity with the people of Eritrea whom he said are continuously suffering due the regime’s “brutality and obstinacy to peace”.
Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a border war in 1998-2000 that has killed an estimated 70,000 people.
The two East African adversaries remain at loggerheads since the disputed key town of Badme had been awarded to Eritrea by an international border commission.
Ethiopia’s current leader Hailemariam Desalegn, who assumed power shortly after longtime ruler Meles Zenawi died in August said last year that he was willing to hold face-to-face talks with Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki, even if he had to travel to the Asmara.
However, the Eritrean government has yet to respond to the offer.
Asmara has in the past said that Ethiopia should first withdraw its troops from the flashpoint border town of Badme before resuming to peace talks.