Meles Zenawi, the Ethiopian prime minister, says his
country has nothing to gain from war with Eritrea
Meles Zenawi, the Ethiopian prime minister, resides over the country with the second-largest population in Africa.

Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow talks to him about his country's role in Somalia, where Ethiopian troops helped the frail Somali government overthrow the Islamic Courts Union, and whether Ethiopia is, as the UN claims, on the verge of war with neighbour Eritrea.

Ethiopia and Eritrea went to war between 1998 and 2000 over their disputed border. The conflict killed more than 70,000 people and displaced 1.4 million others.

Tensions remain high and there are signs of troop build-up on both sides of the border but Zenawi insists that Ethiopia has no wish to go to war with Eritrea.

He tells Adow: "We are not saying we are not going to shoot first. We are going beyond that. We are saying we are not going to shoot even if Eritrea shoots so long as Eritrea does not engage in full-scale invasion of our territory."

Such an invasion would, he says, be "tantamount to suicide" for Eritrea.

This episode of Talk to Jazeera aired from November 22, 2007


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