World Bulletin / News Desk
Eritrea has dismissed claims by longstanding rival Ethiopia that it was destabilizing the East Africa region by involving itself in the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.
Eritrean Ambassador to Kenya Beyene Russom was quoted by Eritrean state television as saying that the allegations were part of an Ethiopian smear campaign.
Eritrea, Russom insisted, wanted to see the South Sudanese people solve their domestic problems.
Late last month, Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman Dina Mufti accused Eritrea of playing a role in the ongoing South Sudan conflict.
"We have circumstantial evidence of Eritrea's involvement [in the South Sudan crisis]," Mufti said.
Tensions between Addis Ababa and Asmara have persisted since a bloody two-year border war – in which tens of thousands were killed – ended in 2000.
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since last December, when President Salva Kiir accused his sacked vice-president, Riek Machar, of attempting to overthrow his regime.
The conflict has already claimed more than 10,000 lives, with the U.N. estimating that some 3.7 million people in South Sudan are now "severely food insecure" while around one million have been displaced by the violence.