The European Union is sending a special mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea this weekend in an attempt to reduce tensions between the two nations.
The diplomatic team will be led by Lord David Triesman, the British minister for Africa, and plans visits to both Addis Ababa and Asmara.
Foreign ministers from EU nations also issued a statement urging Ethiopia and Eritrea to take immediate steps to settle differences over their border.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on Monday expressed “profound concern” over the rise in tensions.
Both countries have increased troop activities near the border, while Eritrea has restricted the movement of United Nations peacekeepers and threatened to expel some of the U.N. force.
Meles Says He Will Withdraw Some Troops
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said he would abide by a U.N. request to pull back troops from its border with Eritrea, while maintaining what he called a "proportional force" in the area.
In a report to the Ethiopian parliament, Mr. Meles said Eritrea believes it can defeat Ethiopia in a war. He said the only way to discourage Eritrea is to show that it cannot win a war it might start.
Mr. Meles said it will be necessary to leave a proportional Ethiopian force near the disputed border until a lasting peace can be secured. He did not elaborate on the size of that force.
Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a two-year border war which ended in 2000 after tens of thousands died.