UN Withdraws Troops From Eritrean Border as Fuel Embargo Begins – By Ed Johnson, Bloomberg

February 15th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

The United Nations began withdrawing its peacekeepers patrolling the Eritrean side of the disputed border with Ethiopia after the government in Eritrea refused to resume fuel supplies to the force.

The first soldiers crossed the border by road to camps in Ethiopia on Feb. 11 and the main force began a temporary relocation yesterday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s office said. (more…)

The United Nations began withdrawing its peacekeepers patrolling the Eritrean side of the disputed border with Ethiopia after the government in Eritrea refused to resume fuel supplies to the force.

The first soldiers crossed the border by road to camps in Ethiopia on Feb. 11 and the main force began a temporary relocation yesterday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s office said.

“Without the fuel needed to conduct its operations, the mission has been effectively immobilized and rendered unable to carry out its critical functions,” Ban’s spokeswoman Michele Montas said in a statement.

UN peacekeepers have patrolled the border since a 1998-2000 war between the two countries ended. The Eritrean government stopped diesel fuel supplies on Dec. 1 and protested when the Security Council voted Jan. 30 to extend the mandate of the 1,700-strong force.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki’s government is demanding that Ethiopia withdraw its soldiers from land it says was awarded to Eritrea by an independent boundary commission. Landlocked Ethiopia is seeking an agreement that would allow it access to Eritrean ports on the Red Sea in return for withdrawing its forces.

Ban wrote to Afwerki last month calling on his government to resume fuel supplies to the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, known as UNMEE.

Ban “regrets that the relocation has become necessary,” Montas said in the statement yesterday.

Tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea escalated after the boundary commission established in the wake of the conflict dissolved itself on Nov. 30 without an agreement on how the countries will complete their frontier.

Eritrea and Ethiopia have an estimated 225,000 soldiers facing off along a 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) border.

At least 70,000 people died in the conflict and an estimated 750,000 Eritreans were forced to flee their homes. Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ed Johnson in Sydney at ejohnson28@bloomberg.net

  1. fish
    | #1

    they supoaw

  2. fish
    | #2

    they suppose to go before six month ago they don’t have any purpose and no sympathy to this looters and tyrant supporters. Like Bush said this UN is an empty box which opens its door to any body who give money.

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