ARDHD / Roger Picon – caricature
President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh of Djibouti and his counterpart Issayas Afewerki of Eritrea held a telephone conversation during which the two agreed to resolve the border dispute that has been rocking relations between the two countries, Djiboutian Foreign Affairs minister, Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, told a press conference here.
Djibouti and Asmara are at loggerheads over Ras Doumeira, an area where Eritrean forces allegedly made a 100-metre incursion into the neighbouring territory.
Youssouf on Tuesday said Djiboutian armed forces will be repositioned around Ras Doumeira while the two leaders will meet on Thursday along with their senior military officers.
The two countries plan to resort to an international arbitration if the dispute remains unabated, Youssouf said.
Last Thursday, Djibouti accused Eritrea of encroaching on their common border with public works earth-movers which allegedly undertook some operations on the Djiboutian side of Ras Doumeira.
The Thursday talks should help both countries military forces revert to their initial positions a few kilometres on either side of the border.
The two presidents stressed the need to settle the dispute through an agreement on the mapping out of a borderline between Djibouti and Eritrea.
The controversial area is located in the region of Obock, north of Djibouti.