ERITREA - July 7 - Technical Talks End In US.
The state department says Ethiopian and Eritrean technical experts
ended 4 days of talks in Washington to resolve differences set aside
when the warring parties signed a ceasefire on June 18. State Department
spokesman Richard Boucher says both sides had met face-to-face on
several occasions during the talks, held at the State Department, and
had spent the rest of the time in "proximity" discussions.
Boucher says: "They adjourned, having accomplished what they could,
and now they go on to the OAU summit and more discussions with the
OAU". He describes the talks, followed closely by senior US
officials, as "constructive" and says the US would discuss
what steps should be taken next with the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) at its summit in the Togolese capital Lome during next week.
Boucher says: "We think the talks clarified both sides'
positions and priorities regarding these compensation boundary issues
and that they helped to facilitate the OAU's efforts as it works
for a comprehensive peace agreement", adding: "We thought
these talks were useful". The talks were aimed at helping to
resolve issues not dealt with when both sides signed a peace agreement
under the auspices of the OAU in Algeria. (The ceasefire was aimed at
ending a border conflict that began in May 1998. Thousands of soldiers
are believed to have died in the border war. The warring sides signed a
deal calling for an immediate ceasefire and the deployment of UN
peacekeepers in a 25-km buffer zone between the 2 armies. Among issues
left undecided were the demarcation of the 1,000-km border, which was
left undefined when Eritrea won independence from Ethiopia in 1993, and
compensating civilian victims, a subject raised by Ethiopia. Other
issues include whether Eritrea should reduce the size of its army and
the repatriation of Ethiopian nationals detained inside Eritrea.)