Eritrea on Wednesday accused arch-rival Ethiopia of seeking an excuse for "military adventurism" by demanding strengthened UN sanctions against its neighbour.
Ethiopia has been seeking reinforced international sanctions since a UN panel said last month that Eritrea was behind a plot to stage bomb attacks on an African Union summit in Addis Ababa in January.
"Acquiescence to this demand would pave the way for Ethiopia’s military adventurism in Eritrea" with "impunity", the Eritrean mission to the UN said in a statement which highlighted Ethiopia's sending of troops to Somalia in 2006.
Eritrea accused its neighbour of staging a "frenzied campaign" for sanctions that would most hurt Eritrea's people.
"The accusations that Eritrea is destabilizing the region is a distortion of Eritrea's foreign policy and a deliberate exaggeration of its capacity," the statement said.
In December 2009, the UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo, travel restrictions and asset freeze on top Eritrean political and military leaders over their alleged support for Shebab Islamist militants in Somalia.
The United States has thrown its weight behind Ethiopia's call for new sanctions after the UN group that monitors the sanctions said Eritrea tried to organised bomb attacks against the AU summit in the Ethiopian capital.
The UN experts also said Eritrea was arming and supporting insurgents in Somalia, including the Shebab group linked to Al-Qaeda.
A six-nation East African regional group, the Inter-Government Authority on Development, has called for sanctions against Eritrea's mining interests and banning a tax the radical government puts on remittances sent back by Eritreans abroad.
"The United States is very very concerned about Eritrea's behavior in the region," the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said last week.© ANP/AFP