Eritrea’s military action earlier this week against Djibouti, urging
both sides to refrain from a troop buildup on the border.
Friday, June 13, 2008
UNITED NATIONS: The U.N. Security Council on Thursday condemned Eritrea’s military action earlier this week against Djibouti, urging both sides to refrain from a troop buildup on the border.
A statement approved by the 15 council members and read by its president at a formal meeting urged the nations to commit to a cease-fire and called on Djibouti and, in particular, its northern neighbor Eritrea, to show “maximum restraint” and withdraw forces from the border along Red Sea shipping lanes.
The council’s presidential statement came after at least nine Djiboutians were killed and more than 60 injured in fighting on Tuesday.
Also Thursday, the U.S. Embassy in the tiny port nation of Djibouti, a key U.S. ally in the Horn of Africa, warned American citizens against traveling near the border with Eritrea after the two countries exchanged fire.
The council called on the nations to resolve their differences peacefully and “in a manner consistent with international law,” and invited peace efforts by the African Union, the Arab League and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, according to the statement read by U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who holds this month’s revolving council presidency.
The U.S. has more than 1,200 troops stationed in Djibouti, where an anti-terrorism task force for the Horn of Africa is based. France also has a base in Djibouti, its former colony.
“We call on all the parties to cooperate, particularly Eritrea, with all efforts designed to help minimize and reduce tensions on the border,” Deputy U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff said.
“There’s been a pattern of irresponsible, destabilizing behavior by Eritrea in the past,” he told reporters. “This latest incident … was launched from the Eritrean side.”