US issues new travel warning against Eritrea


Posted 30th March 2008

NAIROBI (AFP) – The United States has issued a fresh travel warning to Eritrea, due to domestic travel restrictions and the large number of troops massed along its border with arch-rival Ethiopia.

In a statement received Sunday, the State Department urged its “US citizens defer non-essential travel to Eritrea due to restrictions on travel outside the capital city of Asmara and heightened tensions along the Eritrea-Ethiopia border.”

“American citizens considering travel within Eritrea should be aware of the presence of large numbers” of rival troops along the disputed Eritrean-Ethiopian border and “acute political tensions between the two countries.”

“US citizens are strongly advised to avoid travel near the Eritrean-Ethiopian border,” it added.

In March, Eritrea’s restrictions on diesel fuel supplies prompted the United Nations Mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia (UNMEE) to pullout its detachments from the buffer zone, leaving no international observers monitoring the border.

The two nations remain deadlocked in a border standoff following their 1998-2000 war that left 70,000 people dead.

Under the 2000 Algiers peace deal which ended their two-year border war, Eritrea and Ethiopia pledged to accept as “final and binding” a verdict by the boundary commission on their dispute.

But the panel dissolved in early December, leaving the frontier delineated only on maps. In its final ruling, it granted Eritrea the border town of Badme, which Ethiopia has refused to accept, saying it split families between the countries.

Eritrea has repeatedly accused its bigger and more powerful neighbor of gearing up for a new war, a claim dismissed by Addis Ababa as a bid by Asmara to divert attention from its internal problems.

Asmara claims the UN supports Ethiopia in the dispute over their common border. For its part Ethiopia has refused to recognise the ruling granting Badme to Eritrea.

Source: AFP