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U.N. chief to attend Ethiopia-Eritrea peace signing

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (Reuters) -- United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said on Friday he would attend next week's signing of a peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea in Algiers.

At a news conference in Ethiopia before his departure for Eritrea, Annan appealed to both countries not to rearm themselves now that their dispute has ended.

"Now that the war has ended, the urgent task of reconstruction both in Ethiopia and Eritrea must begin in earnest," Annan said.

Tens of thousands of soldiers were killed in a brutal border war which flared up in mid-1998 between the two neighbors in the Horn of Africa.

Annan appealed to international donors to help the two countries' reconstruction efforts.

He described the agreement which will be signed on Tuesday as "a positive step for both sides and for all of Africa."

"As it has been said, the year 2000 is a year for peace in Africa -- many more wars now raging in Africa will have to be resolved. We hope we will do to others in conflict what we did in Ethiopia and Eritrea," he said.

Annan said a UN peacekeeping force, which has started to take up positions along the disputed Ethiopian-Eritrean border, would work with both sides to build confidence.

The peacekeepers would be withdrawn once the border was properly demarcated, he said.

Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



RELATED STORIES:
U.N. chief Annan declares war over between Ethiopia, Eritrea
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Ethiopia, Eritrea sign pledge to stop fighting 'useless war'
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RELATED SITES:
U.N. peacekeeping mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea
Government of Eritrea
Eritrean Network Information Center
Organization of African Unity (OAU)


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