updated 11/10/2007 12:11:54 AM ET 2007-11-10T05:11:54

The United States on Friday urged Ethiopia and Eritrea to exercise maximum restraint and avoid any actions that might further heighten tensions between the two African neighbors.

"We urge both governments to disengage militarily from the most critical locations along the border," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

He said both governments should respect the commitments they made in a 2000 peace agreement.

McCormack said Ethiopia and Eritrea should address issues dividing them and fully embrace U.N. efforts "to resolve the boundary impasse and move toward normalized relations."

Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year guerrilla war, but the border between the two nations was never formally demarcated. A border war that erupted in 1998 claimed tens of thousands of lives in two of the world's poorest countries.

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