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Eritrean-Ethiopian conflict



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M EDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

a,. A U S T R A L I A w

FA82 17 June 1998

ERITREAN-ETHIOPIAN CONFLICT

I am pleased to note that Ethiopia and Eritrea have agreed to a United States proposal for a total ban on air strikes against each other.

The Government deplores the recent use o f force by Ethiopia and Eritrea to settle their border dispute and calls upon the Eritrean and Ethiopian governments to cease all military attacks on one another and declare an immediate ceasefire.

Australia hopes that mutual talks planned under the aegis o f the Organisation o f African Unity (OAU) w ill allow the two countries to resolve their differences which have led to armed conflict in the region.

I welcome the peace-brokering roles being played by Zimbabwe, Djibouti, Kenya, Egypt, Libya, Rwanda, and Burkina Faso as well as the USA and Italy.

On 5 June 1998 my Department issued a travel advisory recommending that Australians defer all travel to Eritrea until further notice and that Australians in Eritrea consider departing the country for the time being unless there are essential reasons for them to remain.

A total of 43 Australians have subsequently been evacuated from Eritrea.

I am very appreciative o f the assistance provided to these Australian citizens by the Canadian, British and United States and Philippine Governments and their overseas representatives.

ROME

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