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A United Nations official is urging Eritrea and Ethiopia to take "concrete actions" to reduce tension along their militarized border.

The top U.N. peacekeeping official, Jean-Marie Guehenno, spoke to reporters in Addis Ababa after meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Mr. Guehenno said both countries have stressed they do not want war, but added "there is always a risk of war by miscalcuation."

On Saturday, Ethiopia said it would withdraw its troops from the border. Eritrea's foreign ministry has dismissed that declaration as "theatrical news manipulation."

Eritrea contends the United Nations has done too little to make Ethiopia accept a final border drawn up by an independent panel.

Tensions rose again last week when Eritrea said Western members of the U.N. peacekeeping mission along the border must leave within 10 days. U.N. leaders rejected that order.

An ally of former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam has been sentenced to death for his role in the killings of more than 900 people during the country's "Red Terror" campaign in the 1970s.

The state-run Ethiopian news agency reports the Federal High Court handed down the sentence to Melaku Tefera after convicting him of genocide. The news agency says Mr. Melaku was also convicted of shattering the heads of people and then laying their dead bodies on streets for dogs to eat, among other crimes against humanity.

Mr. Melaku's conviction and sentencing were part of an 11-year court case brought against some 40 top officials of Colonel Mengistu's regime.

His rule from 1974 to 1991 is considered among the most brutal in Africa's history. An estimated 50,000 people, including students, political figures and members of the middle class, were killed for opposing his regime.

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