Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Uganda: Potential of War Ever-Present Between Regional Foes-allAfrica.com

Ethiopia attacked an Eritrean military base 16km inside the country on Mar. 15, accusing its neighbour of training "hit-and-run terrorists" who it said were behind the killing of two Germans, two Austrians and one Hungarian on the slopes of Ethiopia's famed Erta Ale volcano in Afar in January.
Moreover, amid international appeals for restraint, government spokesman Shimeles Kemal threatened further attacks as long as Eritrea posed a threat to its security. "These groups are operating in the Afar area in Ethiopia," said Shimeles. "We know for certain that the Eritrean government harbours, supports, trains and deploys subversive groups that occasionally launch attacks on infrastructure inside Ethiopia."
The killing of the tourists had rekindled tensions between the two Horn of African nations, raising fears of another war between them. Shimeles said war was not likely to erupt, insisting that Ethiopia was committed to peaceful negotiations. But he warned: "As long as Eritrea remains a launching pad for attacks against Ethiopia, similar measures will continue to be taken." If Eritrean forces retaliated, Shimeles added, "the results would be disastrous".
Eritrea for its part urged the United Nations to take action against Ethiopia for the attack. "The objective of the attack," said Eritrea's Foreign Ministry in a statement, "is to divert attention from the central issue of the regime's flagrant violation of international law and illegal occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories."
The government added that it "will not be entrapped by such deceitful ploys that are aimed at derailing and eclipsing the underlying fundamental issues."
The assaults were the first on Eritrean soil that Addis Ababa has admitted to since the end of a 1998-2000 war that killed 70,000 people.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in April accused the Eritrean government of trying to destabilise Ethiopia by backing rebel groups such as the Oromo Liberation Front, the Ogaden National Liberation Front -- and the Somali Al Qaeda-affiliated Shebab. He told lawmakers that Ethiopia was ready to help the people of Eritrea topple the regime of Issaias Afeworki, but ruled out a military invasion. Meles said they had no intention to "jump into their country but we need to extend our influence there. If the Eritrean government tries to attack us, we will also respond."

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