As expected, the UN will reduce the size of its peacekeeping force on
the Ethiopia-Eritrea border. The Security Council voted on January 30 to cut
the number from 2300 to 1700 troops. The UN had been indicating for several
months that it would reduce the force. Eritrea has consistently blocked UN
observers from inspecting several positions inside the Temporary Security Zone
(TSZ) that is the buffer between the two nations. The UN deplored the
failure to reach an agreement on the border demarcation issue. The UN also noted
that Eritrea sent 2000 troops (not 10000 as initially reported) to the border.
The UN also confirmed reports that "skirmishes" had occurred between Ethiopian
and Eritrean forces within the TSZ. The December-January war in Somalia
dominated the headlines and every East African nation feared the
Ethiopia-Eritrea War could reignite. However, the skirmishes in the TSG did not
escalate. Why? Ethiopia did not want a two-front war. It also appears Eritrea
thought Ethiopia would get bogged down in a "Somali quagmire." If so, Eritrea
31, 2007: Ethiopia said that "the first contingents" of its troops in Somalia's
capital, Mogadishu, have begun withdrawing from Somalia and heading back to
Ethiopia. Ethiopia said that it had already reduced "by a third" the number of
Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu. Most sources believe Ethiopia committed 5,000 to
8,000 troops to the war in Somalia (with 10,000 a possibility).
28, 2007: Ethiopia dismissed claims that Ethiopia and Eritrea were "near war."
An Ethiopian spokesman said that along the Ethiopia-Eritrea border military
options "are not attractive."