ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia is ready to play a mediation role to resolve a bitter border dispute between two of its neighbors Djibouti and Eritrea, an Ethiopian official said on Friday.
Speaking to media, Meles Alem, spokesperson of the Ethiopia Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), said his country has expressed its desire to play a mediation role to the governments of Djibouti and Eritrea.
A border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea resulted in armed clashes in June 2008, leaving several people dead from both sides.
"We will play a constructive role to bridge the gap between Eritrea and Djibouti. Ethiopia believes reconciliation between Djibouti and Eritrea also helps ongoing rapprochement process between Eritrea and Ethiopia," said Alem.
Landlocked Ethiopia currently uses ports in Djibouti for about 95 percent of its' foreign trade and hopes to diversify some of its port options now that Ethiopia is having a diplomatic thaw with Eritrea.
Eritrea and Ethiopia were also until last June bitter rivals having fought a bloody two-year border war in 1998-2000 that killed an estimated 70,000 people from both sides.
The war was ended after the two countries signed a peace agreement in Algiers, Algeria in December 2000, but a bitter standoff continued for almost 18 years with both countries accusing each other of supporting rival dissident groups.
The mutual hostility came to an end last June after Ethiopia's ruling coalition Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) said it unconditionally accepts the results of the Algiers peace agreement.
The decision sent off a chain of fast-paced diplomatic moves between the two countries, which saw the leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia visit their respective countries after two decades of diplomatic freeze.