Last Tuesday, Eritrean and Djibuti forces clashed along their common border, which overlooks strategic Red Sea shipping lanes. Some nine Djibuti soldiers were killed and 60 injured.
Djibuti, though, is home to some 1,200 U.S. Special Forces and a French garrison, and the Security Council did not look kindly on this attack. On Thursday the council passed a resolution calling on both sides to maintain “maximum restraint.” Speaking to reporters yesterday, though, the United States representative singled out Eritrea.
“We call on all the parties to cooperate, particularly Eritrea, with all efforts designed to help minimize and reduce tensions on the border,” Deputy U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff said.
“There’s been a pattern of irresponsible, destabilizing behavior by Eritrea in the past,” he told reporters. “This latest incident … was launched from the Eritrean side.”
The pattern to which he refers is something we’ve been following closely here on UN Dispatch. It includes harassing the United Nations Mission to Ethiopia-Eritrea (UNMEE) to the point where the mission was forced to re-locate outside the country. No side is blameless in this conflict, but as Wolff said there are certain things that Eritrea could do to help reduce tension in the region. Attacking a neighboring country is not one of them.