Eritrea has asked the UN to investigate the killing of five western tourists in northern Ethiopia which has lead to a bitter row between the two arch-foes.
Addis Ababa has blamed Eritrea of sponsoring the rebel group that claimed responsibility for the attack last week, an accusation that Asmara says is being used to set the stage for military confrontation.
In a letter to the United Nations Security Council dated January 23, Eritrea's Foreign Affairs minister Osman Saleh said a threat by Ethiopia to act in self-defence in response to "acts of terrorism" against it was groundless.
"Eritrea wishes to underline that the cynical posturing of the Addis Ababa regime that it has every right to invoke article 51 of the UN Charter 'in self-defence' and launch another war of aggression against Eritrea is not only legally hollow but carries the potential seeds of grave regional destabilisation and conflagration," the letter said.
Eritrea, which is under stifling UN sanctions, said that any attack against it by Ethiopia would not be justifiable.
A little-known armed group, Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF), has claimed responsibility for the attack and in statement said the tourists were killed after Ethiopian government troops launched an attack against a rebel patrol team in the area.
Ethiopia denies this and accused Asmara of being directly or indirectly involved in the attack. (Read:Ethiopia and Eritrea trade accusations after deadly attack)
"This is a new twist to Eritrea's efforts to deny responsibility for its continued efforts to destabilise Ethiopia and for the killing of the five tourists," Ethiopia's Foreign Affairs ministry said in a statement Tuesday.