Global Policy Forum

'Great Progress' in Ethiopia-Eritrea Talks

Agence France-Presse/New York Times
July 26, 1999

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia -- Anthony Lake, the American envoy working to help resolve a border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia, has made "great progress" mediating peace talks between the two nations, Western diplomats said Sunday.

Lake, the former national security adviser, spent Thursday to Saturday shuttling between the two Horn of Africa countries, said one diplomat. He then returned to Washington.

"Both countries demonstrated their willingness to go further in the settlement of their border dispute," one diplomat said. The official reported more optimism than there had been since the border dispute became violent in May of last year, but he cautioned, "the next days will be critical."

This is the fifth time Lake has tried shuttle diplomacy to resolve the border dispute.

While both countries have in principle accepted the terms of an Organization of African Unity peace plan, the plan has not yet been put into action. Each side has accused the other of sabotaging the process. Under the plan, both sides would be obliged to withdraw from positions occupied since the war broke out, on May 6, 1998.

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