Ethiopia rejected a revised peace proposal with Eritrea today, saying the new terms contradicted the original formula to end the 16-month border war.
The announcement came just days after Ethiopia claimed that Eritrea had launched a new offensive.
In a vaguely worded statement, the government said "technical arrangements" that were recently proposed to clarify terms for implementing a peace deal did not comply with the original agreement.
The statement said that the new terms opened up possible contradictions to the original Organization of African Unity plan, which called for a full withdrawal of Eritrean forces from areas controlled by Ethiopia before the start of the war on May 6, 1998.
"Ethiopia needs to be certain that its territories taken by force are restored," the statement said. "This requires the Ethiopian government to insist on the removal of all loopholes that might impede the full restoration of the status quo ante."
Ethiopia said Eritrea initiated a nine-hour battle Wednesday at Zalambessa, 255 miles north of the capital, Addis Ababa. Eritrea denied that any battle occurred.
On Friday, the Ethiopian army took reporters to the front, but kept journalists two miles from the battle site, saying the Eritreans had mined it.
Ethiopian officers pointed at eight Eritrean soldiers, seen through binoculars across the front line. The Eritreans were carrying other soldiers ostensibly wounded.