Djibouti says war with Eritrea is inevitable unless UN intervenes

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Djibouti and Eritrea have spoken to the United Nations security council on Thursday to discuss a border dispute. Djibouti has said that unless the UN intervenes there will be war.

The dispute dates back to June when violence erupted between the nations in the border region of Doumeira. The resulting clashes killed an estimated 35 people. The unmarked border remains disputed, and the nations have built up troops on each side of the border, keeping the situation tense.

Djibouti's ambassador to the UN, Roble Olhaye, has accused Eritrea of avoiding mediation on the problem. Djibouti's President Omah Guelleh told the UN security council "Continued inaction in whatever form not only will encourage but will benefit Eritrea's attitude. This would only give my country one option, the option of war."

The Eritrean ambassador to the UN, Araya Desta, claimed to have peaceful intentions and that his nation had no wishes to take new territory. He claimed his country desired "the cultivation of good neighbourly relations with Djibouti," and said that "Contrary to the claims made, Eritrea has not taken any land that belongs to Djibouti and it does not have any territorial ambitions."

Desta accused Ethiopia of worsening the situation by preparing military forces to help Djibouti. "Ethiopia has built from the Djiboutian side a network of winding roads up the mount and deployed offensive long-range artillery and heavy equipment directed at Eritrea," he said. Olhaye dismissed the idea of Ethiopia's involvement with the claim "Whatever the Eritrean ambassador has said is hogwash."

The UN security council has urged both nations to show restraint; it was the UN who called on the nations to agree to a ceasefire in June.