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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Eritrea Preparing to Attack Ethiopia?

Is Eritrea planning an attack on Ethiopia to try and get them to withdraw from Sudan?

In the last 24hours they are denying fuel to Peackeepers on the Border, who may have to withdraw.

When the UN gets its 26,000 member force in Sudan, Islamists waging a decade old campaign in North Africa will be outgunned.

This may be the next chess move after the Sudan backed Rebel assault on Chad last weekend.

-Shimron

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Eritrea has ignored a U.N. deadline to grant peacekeepers on its border with Ethiopia access to badly needed fuel, but U.N. troops fear war could break out and have not begun leaving, a U.N. official said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon set a Wednesday deadline for Eritrea to allow the U.N. peacekeepers to refuel, saying they faced a fuel crisis. But the U.N. official said on Thursday that Eritrea had ignored the deadline.
  • "The U.N. cannot afford to leave because it would create the conditions for a resumption of the conflict," a U.N. official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "Abandoning our positions would sanctify a resumption of the conflict."
  • He said that the U.N. peacekeepers were acting as a buffer between two neighbors, both of which have amassed troops on their borders.
  • It was not clear how long the peacekeepers could stay put with only meager fuel supplies. If Eritrea continues to deny them fuel, they eventually will have to pull out, using their emergency fuel supplies to evacuate, the official said.
  • Last week the U.N. Security Council renewed the mandate of the U.N. Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, or UNMEE, for six months. The council also urged Eritrea to end its fuel blockade of U.N. staff.
  • But Eritrea, which contends that a continued U.N. presence on the border would be tantamount to an occupation, ignored the demand, prompting a stern warning from the council on Monday.

The 1,700-member U.N. force went to the border in 2000 at the end of a two-year war between the two countries in the Horn of Africa that killed 70,000 people.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

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