UN chief lays out options for Eritrea-Ethiopia border dispute

April 11th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — UN chief Ban Ki-moon has laid out options to deal with the continuing impasse in the Eritrea-Ethiopia border dispute, including the full withdrawal of the UN mission from the area, according to a report released Friday.

The UN mission monitoring the bitter dispute between the two Horn of Africa rivals (UNMEE) has temporarily relocated its military personnel and equipment from Eritrea after Asmara cut off diesel fuel supplies to the mission, crippling its monitoring activities. (more…)

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — UN chief Ban Ki-moon has laid out options to deal with the continuing impasse in the Eritrea-Ethiopia border dispute, including the full withdrawal of the UN mission from the area, according to a report released Friday.

The UN mission monitoring the bitter dispute between the two Horn of Africa rivals (UNMEE) has temporarily relocated its military personnel and equipment from Eritrea after Asmara cut off diesel fuel supplies to the mission, crippling its monitoring activities.

In view of Eritrea’s fuel and other restrictions, the UN secretary general proposes in his report that UNMEE be terminated, “leaving no United Nations peacekeeping presence in the area.”

Another less drastic option involves deploying a “small observer mission” in the border area, which would try to defuse tensions between the rival neighbors and serve as “the eyes and ears of the international community.”

Also under consideration is establishing “liaison offices staffed with civilian and military personnel in Asmara and Addis Ababa to maintain UN readiness to assist the parties” in implementing the decision of a UN-backed boundary panel that ruled on the issue.

Under a 2000 Algiers peace deal which ended their two-year border war, Eritrea and Ethiopia had pledged to accept as “final and binding” a verdict by the panel on their dispute.

The commission granted the border town of Badme to Eritrea, but Ethiopia has refused to recognize it.

Ban’s report however warns that a total withdrawal of UNMEE “could result in an escalation of tensions in the border area, with the risk of a resumption of open hostilities, despite declarations by the two parties that they have no intention of restarting the war.”

As to the deployment of an observer mission, the UN chief notes that it would require the agreement of both countries and “its mere presence in the area may not provide adequate deterrence.”

Ban also points out that establishing liaison offices in Asmara and Addis Ababa would work only if both parties were prepared to proceed with implementation of the ruling by the border panel.

“It is essential that the (UN) Security Council make the necessary decisions as a matter of priority,” the secretary general says.

He also urges Eritrea and Ethiopia “in the interest of regional peace and security, to take into account the serious consequences of the continued stalemate and accept the assistance of the Security Council and my good offices in fully implementing the agreements they ave entered into.”

Asmara, which claims that the United Nations sides with Ethiopia in the dispute, has repeatedly accused its bigger and more powerful neighbor of bracing for a new war.

Addis Ababa has dismissed the charge as an attempt by Eritrea to divert attention from its internal problems.

  1. | #1

    when will be the right person to be appointed for secretary general of the united nation we poor africans are tired of those dogs.we can’t get pease at all.may GOD show them in their familly.our poor mothers tears is not dry yet waiting for answer.

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