Ethiopia: Eritrea Was Wrong


February1, 2007: As expected, the UN will reduce the size of its peacekeeping force on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border. The Security Council voted on January 30 to cut the number from 2300 to 1700 troops. The UN had been indicating for several months that it would reduce the force. Eritrea has consistently blocked UN observers from inspecting several positions inside the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) that is the buffer between the two nations. The UN deplored the failure to reach an agreement on the border demarcation issue. The UN also noted that Eritrea sent 2000 troops (not 10000 as initially reported) to the border. The UN also confirmed reports that "skirmishes" had occurred between Ethiopian and Eritrean forces within the TSZ. The December-January war in Somalia dominated the headlines and every East African nation feared the Ethiopia-Eritrea War could reignite. However, the skirmishes in the TSG did not escalate. Why? Ethiopia did not want a two-front war. It also appears Eritrea thought Ethiopia would get bogged down in a "Somali quagmire." If so, Eritrea was wrong.

January 31, 2007: Ethiopia said that "the first contingents" of its troops in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, have begun withdrawing from Somalia and heading back to Ethiopia. Ethiopia said that it had already reduced "by a third" the number of Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu. Most sources believe Ethiopia committed 5,000 to 8,000 troops to the war in Somalia (with 10,000 a possibility).

January 28, 2007: Ethiopia dismissed claims that Ethiopia and Eritrea were "near war." An Ethiopian spokesman said that along the Ethiopia-Eritrea border military options "are not attractive."


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