|Eritrea dismisses new border violence accusation|
Eritrea dismisses new border violence accusation
* Eritrea denies being a destabilising influence
* Hostile neighbours overlook vital shipping lanes By Jeremy Clarke
ASMARA, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Eritrea said on Thursday it would not be drawn into another war of words after neighbouring Djibouti became the latest nation to accuse the Red Sea state of supporting rebels and spreading chaos in the region.
Djibouti said last week Eritrea was arming and training militias to carry out sabotage on its territory and was backing Somali rebels with suspected ties to al Qaeda.
Eritrea has repeatedly denied the accusations. "We do not wish to be involved in this childish public acrimony," Eritrea's Information Minister Ali Abdu told Reuters in the capital Asmara. "We are not ready to be engaged in infantile (arguments with Djibouti)." Relations between the two nations -- overlooking a vital shipping lane linking Europe to Asia -- remain hostile.
The neighbours clashed in June last year and a dozen Djiboutian soldiers were killed after Djibouti accused Eritrea of moving troops across its border, something Asmara denies.
Djibouti, a former French colony which separates Eritrea from Somalia, hosts France's largest military base in Africa and a major U.S. base. Its port is used by foreign navies patrolling busy shipping lanes off the coast of Somalia to fight piracy.
The tiny nation is also the main route to the sea for Ethiopia -- Eritrea's arch enemy and Washington's chief regional ally -- since it lost the ports of Assab and Masawa when Eritrea won its independence in the early 1990s.
The U.N. Security Council called on Eritrea in January to acknowledge its border dispute with Djibouti and participate in diplomatic efforts to resolve it. Asmara accuses Security Council members of ignoring what it called breaches of international law by Ethiopia, with which it fought a 1998-2000 border war that killed 70,000 people.
Critics including the U.N. Security Council, the African Union and the United States have all said that Eritrea has isolated itself, is a danger to security in the Horn of Africa and a destabilising force in both Ethiopia and Somalia. But Asmara says it has long been the victim of pro-Ethiopian prejudice and unfair meddling by the international community, particularly in its border dispute with Addis Ababa. (Editing by Daniel Wallis and Erik Kirschbaum)
|Marathoner Keflezighi carries somber memories of New York|
Meb Keflezighi became the first American man to win the New York City Marathon since 1982 on Sunday.
Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia captured the women's race, with two-time defending champ Paula Radcliffe falling back to fourth then grabbing her left leg in pain after finishing.
Keflezighi, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist, learned after a disappointing performance in the U.S. Olympic trials in New York two years ago he had a stress fracture in his hip. He capped the long and painful comeback with a landmark victory against a deep field for his first major marathon title.
That day in 2007 he also lost close friend Ryan Shay, who collapsed and died during the race. Keflezighi said the tears he shed after winning were for Shay.
Born in Eritrea, the 34-year-old runner became a U.S. citizen in 1998. He was second in New York in 2004 and third in 2005. Wearing "USA" on the front of his jersey, Keflezighi won in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 15 seconds.
"The USA gave me all the opportunities there is in education, sports and lifestyle," he said. "To be able to represent the USA is a big thing for me."
With nearly 44,000 runners starting the 40th edition of the race, Keflezighi pulled away from Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya in the 23rd mile to beat the four-time Boston Marathon champ by 41 seconds. Alberto Salazar had been the last American men's champion, taking three straight titles from 1980-82.
Morocco's Jaouad Gharib finished third and Ryan Hall was fourth on an impressive day for U.S. distance running, with six Americans in the top 10 for the first time since 1979. The race doubled at the national men's marathon championship.
"I was just praying it could be my day and a lot can change by winning this race," Keflezighi said.
Many of the runners, stars and regular folks alike, pounded the pavement for a good cause.
"We're raising money to build the first public children's hospital in Kenya," actor Anthony Edwards said. "It'll be the largest children's hospital in Africa."
"I'm running with the number 1275 to represent the 1.275 million people living with a spinal cord injury in this country," said Matt Reeve, son of 'Superman' actor Christopher Reeve, who suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed.
All of the runners, however, had a singular goal.
"Finishing is the expectation I put on myself," Edwards said.
Ludmila Petrova, a 41-year-old Russian, was the runner-up for the second straight year in the women's race, while Christelle Daunay of France was third.
Radcliffe said she had tendinitis behind her knee. The world record-holder from Britain failed to win a marathon for just the third time in 11 starts.
The 37-year-old Tulu won Olympic gold medals on the track in the 10,000 meters in 1992 and 2000. Her only marathon title came in London in 2001.
She had struggled with her weight and endurance after the birth of her second daughter three years ago. But when she ran well at a half-marathon in Philadelphia on Sept. 20, she decided to enter New York.
"I did not come here necessarily expecting to win," she said, "but I did expect to be a strong competitor."
The first New York City Marathon was held in 1970 and had 127 runners.
|In Mexico, An Eritrean Man Sets His Sights On U.S.|
Published October 24, 2009 4:00 PM
Despite the economic downturn and diminishing job opportunities in the United States, impoverished people from around the globe continue to try to make the trek here. One man on Mexico's southern border has spent two years moving from his home country, the African nation of Eritrea, to the edge of Mexico. His ultimate goal? Washington, D.C.
|Eritrea "sick" of Somalia arms accusations|
|NAIROBI, May 4 (Reuters) - Eritrea said on Monday it was tired of
accusations that it sends weapons to al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants
fighting Somalia's government.|
In an accusation backed by some security experts and diplomats, Somalia's government said again this week that Asmara continues to support al Shabaab rebels through planeloads of AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons.
"We're tired and sick of these false accusations," Yemane Ghebremeskel, head of the president's office, told Reuters.
"These accusations are advanced for ulterior motives."
Eritrea accuses western powers of meddling in Somalia and fuelling strife that has killed thousands of people and forced more than 1 million from their homes in the last two years.
Analysts say a long-running regional power struggle between Eritrea and Ethiopia -- who fought a 1998-2000 border war -- has also complicated peace prospects for Somalia.
Somalia's security minister on Sunday called on the international community to help stop Asmara sending arms to al Shabaab, whom Washington put on its list of terrorist groups.
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