The Secretary-General is deeply distressed at the escalation in fighting between Eritrea and Ethiopia despite ongoing intensive efforts to mediate the dispute. He had been encouraged by an Ethiopian statement provisionally accepting the proposals put forward by American and Rwandan mediators, as well as by today's Eritrean statement that these proposals are "not controversial to the Government of Eritrea". It seems to him that there is much common ground between the two sides to the dispute, and that it is important to build on this.
The Secretary-General strongly appeals to both sides for an immediate cessation of hostilities so as to give diplomacy a chance to bridge remaining differences and to avoid any further escalation. The Secretary-General especially regrets this turn of events in the relations between two fraternal countries which had, until recently, enjoyed peaceful and good neighbourly relations. The Secretary-General has been in touch with the leaders of the two countries and with other leaders, and will continue to do everything he can to help the parties find a peaceful solution to the dispute.
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