በቀላሉ የመሥሪያ ማገናኛዎች

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An Ethiopian court has again denied bail for a group of jailed opposition leaders and journalists but has ordered prosecutors to produce formal charges against them in 15 days.

The 23 detainees appeared in an Addis Ababa courtroom on Thursday, with many looking weak and tired from a hunger strike that started Monday.

All were arrested during anti-government riots last month in which at least 46 people died. Police opened fire on similar protests in June, killing at least 36.

Prosecutors said the group was responsible for the loss of life and tried to overthrow the government by force. Defense attorneys rejected the accusations.

The accused include 19 members of Ethiopia's main opposition group (the Coalition for Unity and Democracy), three journalists, and one trade union official.

The opposition group has accused the government of stealing victory in May parliamentary elections.

A senior United Nations official has expressed optimism that Ethiopia will reduce troop levels near the country's tense border with Eritrea.

The commander of U.N. peacekeeping forces along the border, Major-General Rajender Singh, told reporters Thursday he has discussed the situation with Ethiopian officials.

He said he is "hopeful" Ethiopia will pull back additional troops it recently sent to the border amid the rising tensions with Eritrea.

The general said he plans to have similar talks with Eritrean officials.

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution last week that threatens sanctions against both countries if they use force to settle their border dispute. Eritrea rejected the measure, on the grounds it would not penalize Ethiopia for refusing to accept international demarcation of the border.

The countries fought a border war from 1998 to 2000 that killed 70,000 people.

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