Annan extending mission in Ethiopia, Eritrea
Annan recommends extending mission mandate in Ethiopia, Eritrea until next March
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has recommended that the Security Council extend the mandate of the peacekeeping mission stationed between Ethiopia and Eritrea until mid-March and has called on the international community to intensify its effort to bring the two Governments together after their border war.
"In my last report, I noted that the absence of dialogue between Ethiopia and Eritrea continues to be a missing element of the peace process. I wish to re-emphasize the importance of dialogue without any precondition between the parties as an integral part of ongoing efforts to resolve the existing stalemate and any other bilateral issue," he says in his latest report to the Council on the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).
"I would like to call on the international community to spare no effort in bringing the parties together to engage in constructive dialogue aimed at moving the peace process forward and normalizing bilateral relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea."
The two-year war broke out in 1998 over the delimitation of the border between the two countries.
Mr. Annan says he is pleased about the decline in the number of incidents in the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) separating the two countries and commends the two Governments for that development.
He also notes once again that the protracted stalemate between the two countries is inherently destabilizing and renews his suggestion that the Security Council visit the countries.
But he adds that "once again, I reiterate that the Governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea have the primary responsibility to bring durable peace and security between their two countries. This is a responsibility of the Governments to their own peoples."