AU Peace and Security Chief heads to Asmara
The African Union (A.U.) will send its peace and security commissioner to Eritrea in the wake of the country’s border tension with neighbouring Djibouti.
According to the Reuters correspondent covering Ethiopia and the A.U., Moussa Faki Mahamat said Ambassador Smail Chergui will go to Asmara to meet authorities over the tensions.
Djibouti on Monday through its foreign affairs minister asked the continent’s political bloc to deploy observers along its disputed border with Eritrea after Qatar withdrew its peace-keeping troops two weeks ago.
“The Qatari forces left on short notice without really preparing the ground. Leaving the status quo was not in the best interest of both countries,” Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf told reporters during a summit of African Union leaders in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
“We proposed to the African Union that it take over the disputed side and fill the gap. We need the African Union to act very quickly,” Youssouf said.
Tensions between the two countries date back to 2008 when their armies clashed in fierce fighting that claimed several lives.
It was recently renewed in the wake of the Gulf crisis which saw Saudi and allies blacklist Qatar – who had agreed to mediate in the tensions leading to the deployment of troops. Djibouti and Eritrea reportedly backed Saudi, Asmara has rejected that claim saying relations with Doha remained intact.
The area in question is the Dumeira Island and mountains. The small island lies off the coast of both countries, specifically at the southern end of the Red Sea. It is close to a vital shipping route for global trade, the Baba-el-Mandeb strait.