U.N. puts new pressure on Ethiopia, Eritrea
UNITED NATIONS AP”” The U.N. Security Council extended the mandate of peacekeepers in Eritrea and Ethiopia by four months Friday and threatened to overhaul the mission if the two sides don’t make progress toward demarcating their border.
Implicit in the warning was the possibility that the council could again cut the size of the force, or eliminate it completely, because of the stalemate.In the resolution, which was adopted unanimously, the 15-nation council expressed regret that the two governments have been unable to agree on a border. Ethiopia has refused to implement an international commission’s April 2002 ruling which awarded the key town of Badme to Eritrea.
The council also demanded that the two sides give the U.N. peacekeepers all the access they need. That was in response to Eritrea’s continued refusal to lift restrictions on U.N. helicopter flights on its side of a buffer zone separating the two countries.
If the two sides cannot make progress toward delineating their border by Jan. 31, the Security Council will “transform or reconfigure” the mission. In April, the Security Council cut the number of peacekeepers deployed in Eritrea and Ethiopia from 3,500 to 2,300 in frustration over the lack of progress. That effort was led by the United States.