Eritrean leader says U.S. behind Ethiopia raids

Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:47am GMT

* Isaias accuses U.S. of siding with Ethiopia

* President says aim is to divert attention from border spat

* Ethiopia has attacked rebel bases inside Eritrea

By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA, March 26 (Reuters) - Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki accused the United States of plotting cross-border raids by Ethiopian troops, saying the two allies were out to divert attention from a festering border spat in the volatile Horn of Africa.

Addis Ababa, Washington's main ally in the region, said it attacked military bases used by rebels inside Eritrea e arlier this month.

The incursion followed a raid by an Eritrea-based rebel group into Ethiopia's remote Afar region in January in which five foreign tourists were killed and two kidnapped.

Last week's attacks were the first on Eritrean soil that Ethiopia has admitted to since the end of a 1998-2000 war that claimed 70,000 lives and left a border dispute unresolved.

Eritrea says there have been others.   Continued...

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