Eritrea has renewed charges that the United Nations is allowing Ethiopia to break international law and the peace agreement that ended the two countries' border war.
In a statement, the Eritrean Foreign Ministry says a report on the border dispute by Secretary-General Kofi Annan shows an "ingrained bias" against Eritrea.
It says the report and the U.N. are focused on secondary issues, and have glossed over Ethiopia's refusal to accept a border drawn up by an independent panel.
The statement made no mention of the U.S. delegation that is scheduled to visit the region with the goal of settling the dispute. U.N. observers have said the situation on the Eritrea-Ethiopia border remains "tense and potentially volatile."
On Monday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton briefed the Security Council on a fresh initiative by the United States aimed at breaking a nearly four-year stalemate on demarcation of the Ethiopia-Eritrea border.
He said Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer, along with retired Marine Corps general and Africa expert Carlton Fulford, would lead a delegation to the region in search of a compromise.
The U.N. sent a peacekeeping mission to enforce a 2000 agreement that ended the border war. The deal also committed both sides to abide by an independent boundary commission's ruling on the location of their disputed frontier.
Eritrea, frustrated by a lack of progress on the border demarcation issue, last month ordered peacekeepers out of its territory. The troops were removed, and Monday's closed-door Security Council meeting was initially called to consider what to do next.
After the meeting, Ambassador Bolton said the Council had agreed to defer action for 30-days to give the U.S. diplomatic initiative a chance to work.
But he told reporters the United States is under no illusion about the difficulty of the mission.
"I don't want to overstate this," Mr. Bolton said. "I don't want any excessive expectations raised. We're going to undertake this with seriousness, but the issue of getting to the demarcation has been held up almost four years now. It's obviously not an easy undertaking, but we felt we are in the best position to try and do it."
Security Council diplomats and U.N. officials alike welcomed the U.S. initiative.
Undersecretary General for Peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guehenno called the mission essential, and a real chance for peace at a time when there is a sense of urgency. But he acknowledged the task facing the U.S. mission is daunting.
The Ethiopia-Eritrea dispute is viewed as a test case of the Security Council's ability to settle regional disputes through the use of peacekeeping forces.
Last month, Ambassador Bolton criticized the Council for what he called its "inability or unwillingness" to confront Ethiopia's refusal to adhere to the agreement it made in 2000.
Britain's U.N. ambassador, Emir Jones-Parry, Monday said peacekeeping troops must be given power and authority to force warring parties to abide by peace agreements.
Monday's Security Council session was called to discuss a report by Secretary-General Annan that listed six options for the Ethiopia-Eritrea force. Those options ranged from maintaining the mission to complete withdrawal.
But Assistant Secretary of State Frazer, who will lead the U.S. delegation, recently signaled Washington's interest in another option. Speaking to a congressional panel, Ms. Frazer said the solution to the Eritrea-Ethiopia impasse lies in political diplomacy.
She suggested diplomatic maneuvering is already well under way.