Eritrea Calls Ethiopia’s New Stance a ‘Declaration of War’
April. 29 2011
Eritrea criticized Ethiopia’s new stance on relations between the two countries as “pure aggression and a declaration of war” and denied it supports terrorism.
Ethiopia’s government on April 15 announced it will increase support to Eritrean rebels seeking to overthrow the government of President Isaias Afewerki. The country will use “any means at its disposal” to bring about regime change unless the Eritrean government changes its policies, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said.
The two countries fought a 1998-2000 border war that killed 70,000 people, according to Brussels-based International Crisis Group. Relations between the two have remained tense as each backed opposing factions in nearby Somalia’s civil war. Skirmishes between Ethiopian and Eritrean troops occasionally break out along their 912-kilometer (567-mile) border. Ethiopia previously accused Eritrea of supporting Ethiopian rebels and al-Qaeda-linked insurgents in neighboring Somalia.
“Eritrea does not have an agenda of destabilizing Ethiopia or the region,” Girma Asmerom, Eritrea’s ambassador to the African Union, said to the 53-member continental bloc’s security panel on April 26.
Accusations of Eritrean support for terrorism are “fabricated and baseless,” he said. “It is not in our psyche, our culture, our philosophy, our upbringing, our value and our history to attack civilian targets, victimize and terrorize innocent people.”