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Africa

UN urges Djibouti and Eritrea to end border dispute

A years-long border dispute has erupted between the two African nations after Qatari forces withdrew from a buffer zone along the border. The UN has backed an African Union fact-finding mission concerning the dispute.

The UN Security Council said Monday it wants Djibouti and Eritrea to "resolve their border dispute peacefully in a manner consistent with international law," said Bolivian ambassador Sacha Llorenty.

Djibouti accused Eritrean troops of occupying a buffer zone last week, a day after Qatari troops announced their withdrawal from the area. Qatar had its diplomatic ties withsurrounding Arabic nations cut off after the Arab nations accused Qatar of supporting terrorism.

Qatari forces were sent to the Djibouti-Eritrea border in 2010 to serve as a mediator when the border conflict erupted into violence.

Analysts believe Qatar's withdrawal concerns a diplomatic spat led by Saudi Arabia. Both Eritrea and Djibouti are considered allies of Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates, which also joined a blockade against Doha.

However, Eritrea's top diplomat to the African Union, Araia Desta, said his country has not severed ties with Qatar, adding that Asmara does not want a confrontation with Djibouti. Llorenty said the UN Security Council welcomed a plan put forth by the African Union to launch a fact-finding mission concerning the dispute.

Eritrea was involved in a bloody border dispute with Ethiopia in the late 1990's. Tensions are still high along the militarized border.

kbd/ls (AFP, AP)

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