24 February 2006

East Africa: To End Dispute, UN Security Council Urges Ethiopia And Eritrea to Set Border

In order to resolve the current impasse between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the United Nations Security Council today urged the two parties to sit down with the commission charged with setting a permanent border between the two countries and to abide by its decisions.

Through a statement read out by its current President, John Bolton of the United States, the Council also demanded that the parties permit the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) to perform its duties without restrictions.

Eritrea has banned UNMEE helicopter flights and restricted its patrols since mid-2005 and in December of that year demanded all UNMEE personnel of certain nationalities to leave its territory.

The country has increased its criticism of the UN for not forcing Ethiopia to accept the border delineated in 2002, awarding Badme - the town that triggered the bloody 1998-2000 border war - to Eritrea.

In its statement today, the Council recalled that under the Algiers Agreements that ended fighting between the two countries, both Eritrea and Ethiopia have agreed to accept the delimitation and demarcation decisions of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) as final and binding.

In his latest report to the Council on the situation, Secretary-General Kofi Annan offered a number of options for coping with the current stalemate, ranging from redeployment to total withdrawal of UNMEE.

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