HARARE, June 25 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Friday received Eritrean President Issaias Afewerki's special envoy, who delivered a message requesting him to intervene in resolving a long-standing border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Speaking to reporters after delivering the message, Eritrean Energy and Mines Minister Tesfai Gebreselassie said that his country wanted Mugabe to exert his influence on the African Union (AU) to take action against Ethiopia for reneging on the verdict of a United Nations Commission established to resolve the dispute.
Territorial disputes between the two Horn of Africa neighbors led to a war in 1998. The Zimbabwean president was part of the high level delegation mandated by the AU to see to a peaceful resolution of the dispute soon after it erupted in 1998.
After two years of bitter fighting that left thousands of soldiers from both sides dead, a peace agreement was reached in December 2000.
Under the agreement, the parties agreed that a neutral BoundaryCommission be established with a mandate to delimit and demarcate the boundary that divides the two countries.
A former Italian colony, Eritrea was occupied by the British in1941. In 1952, the United Nations resolved to establish it as an autonomous entity federated with Ethiopia. It split with Ethiopia in 1993.
A United Nations peacekeeping force patrols a 25 km wide bufferzone along the unmarked 1,000 km border between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Demarcation of the disputed border was indefinitely postponed after Ethiopia refused to back off.
Eritrea has called for sanctions to force Ethiopia to accept the ruling, which was supposed to be "final and binding" under theterms of a peace deal. Enditem